Joe Blanton was back on the field for the Phils last night. The good news is that he looked good. The bad news is the Phillies lost. Blanton pitched better than his line and started the seventh with the game tied at 1-1. Things fell apart for him in the seventh as he allowed a leadoff home run and a couple of singles. David Freese broke the game open later in the inning off of Figueroa when he blasted a three-run double off the wall in right to put the Cards ahead to stay at 5-1.
Despite the loss, Blanton’s outing was encouraging and there’s every reason to hope that he can bring some stability to a rotation that has seen Kendrick, Moyer and Hamels struggle in the early season. He may want to work on his bunting, though. In last night’s game he had bunted into rally-killing double-plays twice before the end of the fifth inning.
The Phillies are 14-11 on the season after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 6-3 last night.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on ten hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out four. He threw 94 pitches in the game.
He threw a 1-2-3 first.
Matt Holliday doubled to center to start the second. He went to third on a ground out by David Freese and came in to score when Colby Rasmus flew to center, putting the Cards up 1-0. Yadier Molina followed with a single on a ball deflected by Blanton before the pitcher Jamie Garcia grounded to Utley for the third out.
Brendan Ryan started the third with a single, but was left stranded when the next three hitters went in order behind him.
Rasmus doubled to right with two outs in the fourth. Blanton walked Molina intentionally, putting two men on and letting Blanton face the pitcher Garcia. Garcia grounded to second again.
Ryan started the fifth with a double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, Werth-to-Utley-to-Polanco. Blanton got the next two hitters behind him.
The game was tied at 1-1 when Blanton started the sixth. Freese and Rasmus singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and third. Molina grounded out on a by Ruiz handled out in front of the plate to leave both men stranded and the game tied.
Things went bad for Blanton in the seventh. Nick Stavinoha hit for the pitcher Garcia to start the inning and homered to left to put St Louis ahead 2-1. Blanton got Ryan on a fly ball to center for the first out before Skip Schumaker singled to center. Ryan Ludwick flew to center for the second out. Albert Pujols was next and he singled to center, putting men on first and second. Figueroa came in to pitch to the righty Matt Holliday and uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. With Halladay ahead in the count 3-1 the Phils put him on intentionally to load the bases for Freese. Freese blasted Figueroa’s 0-1 pitch off the wall in right for a double, clearing the bases and putting St Louis up 5-1. Rasmus followed and blooped a single to left, scoring Blanton. 6-1. Ruiz threw Rasmus out trying to steal second.
Ugly. Blanton leaves with two outs and two on and Figueroa gives up the big blow to Freese.
Figueroa was back for the eighth with the St Louis lead cut to 6-2. He gave up a leadoff single to Molina, but got the next three.
Lidge pitched the top of the ninth with the Phils down 6-2. Holliday doubled into the left field corner with two outs, but Lidge struck Freese out swinging to leave him stranded.
Figueroa threw 23 pitches in the game. Lidge 17.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Jamie Garcia went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Castro at short with Rollins on the DL. Victorino continues to leadoff.
Victorino led off the first with a single, but was caught stealing second and Polanco and Utley went down behind him. There was a six minute delay to figure out whether or not Utley’s drive down the right field line was fair or foul. They came up with foul and Utley flew to right to end the inning.
Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second.
Ruiz walked with one out in the third. Blanton tried to move him to second, but bunted into a double-play.
Utley walked with two outs in the fourth. Howard grounded to second behind him.
Werth doubled to start the fifth and Ibanez followed with a single that moved him to third. Castro was next and hit a fly ball to right. Werth tagged and scored, tying the game at 1-1. Ruiz followed with a walk, putting men on first and second with one out. Blanton again bunted into a double-play, ending the inning.
Twice is a lot of times to bunt into a double-play in five innings.
Polanco walked with one out in the sixth. Utley and Howard struck out behind him.
Any inning in which Polanco walks has to be considered a success, no matter how many people strike out behind him.
The Phillies were down 6-1 when they hit in the seventh. Werth led off with a home run to center, cutting the lead to 6-2. Ibanez, Castro and Ruiz went in order behind him.
The Phils went in order in the eighth. With righty Kyle McClellan on the mound for St Louis, Gload hit for Figueroa and flew to right for the first out.
Utley homered off of lefty Trever Miller to start the ninth, cutting the St Louis lead to 6-3. Howard, Werth and Ibanez all struck out behind him to end the game.
Victorino was 1-for-4 in the game. He’s 5-for-his-last-14.
Polanco 0-for-3 with walk. He’s on pace for 19 this season.
Utley 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run, his eighth of the year. He’s on pace to hit 52 but drive in just 117 runs. Victorino’s .274 on-base percentage and Polanco’s .324 ahead of him aren’t helping the Phillies score runs. He’s 6-for-his-last-13 with five extra-base hits.
Howard was 0-for-4 and struck out three times. He’s on-basing .313 for the year and on pace to walk 32 times.
Werth was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. He’s 8-for-his-last-15. He’s still on pace for 84 doubles, which would shatter the single season record of 67.
Ibanez was 1-for-4. After walking a lot to start the season he now has walked once in his last 30 at-bats.
Castro 0-for-2 with an RBI. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.
Ruiz was 0-for-1 and walked twice. He’s on pace for 117 walks.
Cole Hamels (2-2, 5.28) faces righty Adam Wainwright (4-1, 2.13) tonight in game two of the four game set. Wainwright has an 0.90 ratio for the season. Opponents are hitting .203 against him for the year. Hamels has had one good start in five outings. Righties are hitting 341/376/602 against him and lefties 128/244/308.
A 17-year-old fan was tasered after running on to the field last night.
This suggests that we should not expect to see Madson in the near future. That is a big problem.