The Phillies were all over the Indians yesterday, capitalizing on defense miscues by Cleveland and hammering the ball around the yard as they won by nine runs to complete a three-game sweep.
The Phils are on a roll, winners of six of their last eight. Jayson Werth came into the series 12-for-his-last-71 (.169) and went 6-for-8 with a double, a home run and a walk in the three-game set. Utley’s turnaround may have started a series earlier when he went 6-for-14 against the Twins, but after a 4-for-8 against the Indians he’s 10-for-22 over the last six games. He came into the series with Minnesota hitting .177 over his last 114 plate appearances.
Finally, it’s a little tough to envision the Phillies winning consistently with Joe Blanton starting every fifth game and throwing to a seven ERA. Blanton looked better yesterday and has now put two solid starts together in a row, dropping his ERA on the year from 7.28 to 6.53.
The Phillies are 38-32 on the year after a 12-3 win over the Cleveland Indians yesterday afternoon. The Phils sweep the three-game set and are in third place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.
Blanton got the start for the Phils and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
He threw a 1-2-3 first and a 1-2-3 second.
He started the third up 5-0. Jason Donald reached on a one-out single and the pitcher Fausto Carmona bunted him to second. Trevor Crowe flew to left for the third out.
Russell Branyan bunted for a single with two outs in the fourth. Blanton got Andy Marte on a fly ball to center for the third out.
Shelley Duncan led off the fifth and lined a single to right. Blanton got Luis Valbuena to hit a ground ball to second and Duncan was forced at second for the first out of the inning. The former Phil Donald was next and he fouled off six pitches before hitting a 2-2 offering from Blanton out to left for his second career home run, cutting the lead to 5-2. Blanton got Carmona and Crowe behind Donald to set Cleveland down.
He struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana in a 1-2-3 sixth with the Phils up 7-2.
The Phillies led 12-2 when he threw a 1-2-3 seventh.
Donald started the eighth with a double and lefty Travis Hafner hit for the pitcher Jensen Lewis. Blanton struck him out for the first out before Crowe delivered an RBI-double to center, scoring Donald to make it 12-3. Blanton struck Anderson Hernandez out swinging for the second out and Nelson Figueroa came on to pitch to the switch-hitter Santana. Santana grounded to second to set Cleveland down.
Figueroa returned to set Cleveland down in order in the ninth.
Seventeen pitches in the game for Figueroa.
The Phillies lineup against righty Fausto Carmona went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Rollins on the bench after his game-winner on Wednesday in the hot day game after a night game. Valdez plays short and Victorino moves up from seventh to hit leadoff. Sardinha makes his first start ever for the Phils to give Schneider a break in the day game with Ruiz on the DL.
Utley singled with two outs in the first and stole second, but Howard flew to center behind him.
Werth, Ibanez and Valdez all singled to start the second. It loaded the bases for Sardinha and he hit a ground ball to third. Marte fielded and threw home, but the ball popped out of Santana’s glove for an error and Werth and Ibanez both scored to put the Phillies up 2-0. With nobody out and men on first and second, Carmona hit Blanton with a pitch and the bases were loaded. Victorino hit a ground ball that Carmona fielded. Victorino was called out at first for running outside of the base line with everyone else moving up a base. Valdez scored and the Phils led 3-0 with men on second and third. Manuel was ejected for the second time in the series, arguing that Victorino was in the base line. Polanco followed with a single into center. Sardinha scored (4-0) with Blanton going to third. Utley was next and he flew to Crowe in center. Not sure what happened with Crowe, but he didn’t seem to be prepared for the possibility that Blanton might tag and score. He did and the Phils led 5-0. Howard grounded out on a ball fielded by the catcher to end the inning.
Two bad plays defensively from Cleveland in the inning. First they get no outs on what probably should have been a double-play when Santana dropped the ball. Then Crowe looks like he has a mental lapse that means he doesn’t have a chance to throw Blanton out tagging from third.
Werth singled to start the third, but Ibanez hit into a double-play behind him. Valdez grounded to short to end the inning.
The Phils went in order in the fourth.
It was 5-2 when they hit in the fifth. Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third for Howard. Howard hit a ground ball to first. Branyan fielded and came home with the ball, but Polanco was safe. The Phils led 6-2 with men on first and second with nobody out. Werth was next and he lined a single into left. Utley scored (7-2) and Howard went to second. Ibanez hit into a double-play, his second of the game, and Valdez grounded out to keep the Phils from getting any more.
Sardinha started the sixth with a home run to left. 8-2. Victorino singled with one out and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double. 9-2. Utley reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by the pitcher, moving Polanco to third. With out and men on first and third, a walk to Howard loaded the bases. Werth hit a fly ball to right. Polanco scored (10-2) and Utley went to third. Ibanez walked and the bases were loaded. Valdez delivered a two-run single to make it 12-2 before Sardinha flew to center to end the inning.
Polanco singled with two outs in the seventh. With the Phils still up by ten runs, Castro hit for Utley and struck out for the third out.
The Phils went in order in the eighth with the lead cut to 12-3.
Victorino was 1-for-5 with an RBI in the game. He was 2-for-10 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting .208 in June and 246/319/445 for the year.
Polanco was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI yesterday. 6-for-13 with a double in the series. 320/351/438 for the year.
Utley was 4-for-8 with two walks in the series. 274/385/476 for the series. He’s hitting 394/450/576 over his last 40 plate appearances. He hit 165/280/247 in the 100 plate appearances before that. So things are getting better.
Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 4-for-10 with four singles and a walk in the series. 294/349/502 for the year. He’s on pace to hit 32 home runs for the season.
Werth was 3-for-4 with two RBI yesterday and 6-for-8 with a double, a walk and a home run in the series. 294/375/566 on the season.
Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a walk and hit into two double-plays. He was 3-for-11 with a double and a walk in the series. 246/338/399 for the season. It would be his worst season since 2000 if he finished the year with that line.
Valdez was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. 258/270/383 for the year. Rollins was 1-for-9 with a walkoff two-run shot in game two of the series and is hitting 300/410/600 for the season.
Sardinha was 1-for-4 with a home run in his first action as a Phillie. Schneider was 1-for-5 with a home run and two walks in the series. 245/362/347 for the season.
Halladay (8-6, 2.43) faces righty Jesse Litsch (0-1, 6.75) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with the Blue Jays. The Phils are 8-7 in the games that Halladay has started this season. They have a better record in the games started by Hamels (8-6), Moyer (8-6) or Kendrick (8-6). Halladay has allowed more than three earned runs in an outing once in his last five starts. Litsch is coming back from Tommy John surgery and has made just two starts this season. In the first he allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings and the second he shut the Giants out on three hits over seven scoreless innings.