For the third straight game the story was the same for the Phillies. Only the names have changed — this time is was Clay Condrey who gave up the big blow in a close game. Condrey surrendered a solo shot to Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the seventh in a 2-2 game and it proved to be the difference in the contest.
Over the last three games, Seanez, Lidge, Madson, Durbin and now Condrey have had miserable moments out of the Phils’ pen. That doesn’t even count Scott Eyre, who walked in a run with the bases loaded yesterday.
A ninth-inning grand slam by Beltran helped earn the Mets a dramatic win in Florida last night, putting the Phils two games back in the NL East. The Phils clearly understand the urgency of the situation — you can see it in their play. But that’s both the good news and the bad news. While the struggling offense is sure to come around sooner or later, you have to wonder if the same is true about the bullpen that has been so good, and maybe a little better than anyone had a right to expect, all year long.
The Phillies also didn’t get a critical call in yesterday’s game. With two outs and men on first and third in the seventh, Howard hit a ground ball to first and was called out on a play where he was probably safe. The runner from third didn’t score, the game stayed tied, and the Phils went on to lose by a run.
The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs yesterday afternoon, falling 3-2 to drop to 73-62 on the season. They have lost three in a row.
Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and five walks. Both of the hits were singles and he struck out four.
He started the first with a 1-0 lead and got ahead of Alfonso Soriano 0-2 before Soriano drew a walk. Ryan Theriot flew to center before Soriano stole second. Derrek Lee flew to right and Aramis Ramirez grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.
He struck out Theriot to start the fourth. Lee was next and hit a ball hard, but Utley took it at second for the second out. Ramirez followed with a single into center, the first hit of game for the Cubs, but Blanton got Edmonds to pop to Rollins for the third out.
Blanton walked DeRosa to start the fifth. DeRosa stole second as Fukudome struck out for the first out. Henry Blanco was next and he reached on an infield single to Dobbs, moving DeRosa to third. Darlye Ward hit for the pitcher Harden and hit a ground ball to second. Utley threw to second to force Blanco, but Ward was safe and DeRosa scored to cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Soriano popped to second for the third out.
Blanton walked Theriot and Lee back-to-back to start the sixth. Ramirez flew to center before Edmonds moved the runners to second and third with a ground out to third. A walk to DeRosa loaded the bases for the lefty Fukudome and Eyre came in to pitch to him. Eyre got ahead of Fukudome 0-1 before he delivered four straight balls to force in Theriot and tie the game at 2-2. Blanco struck out looking for the third out.
Condrey started the seventh with the game tied at 2-2. With one out, Soriano blasted a 2-0 pitch out to left-center, putting the Cubs up 3-2. Condrey got the next two.
Soriano’s home run off of Condrey was the only extra-base hit of the game for either team.
Seanez pitched the eighth. Ramirez led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Edmonds. DeRosa bunted the runners to second and third, but Seanez got out of the jam by striking Ronny Cedeno out and getting Blanco on a ground ball to third.
The pen goes 2 1/3, allowing a run on two hits and two walks while striking out two. Seanez threw 20 pitches, Eyre and Condrey were both under ten.
Eyre walking in a run in the sixth proved to be critical in the game as well.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty Rich Harden went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Victorino returns to the two-spot with Burrell back hitting fifth. Werth in right. Dobbs plays third against the righty. Ruiz catches. I wonder if the Phils might at some point go with this against righties and Rollins-Utley-Burrell-Howard-Werth at the top against lefties. I think it would be a good idea.
With two outs in the first, Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard followed and drew a walk. Burrell was next and he singled into left on a 3-2 pitch. Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0 and Howard went to second. Werth struck out to leave both runners stranded.
Ruiz walked with one out in the second and Blanton bunted him to second for the second out. Rollins drew a walk, but Victorino struck out to leave both runners stranded.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.
Werth walked to start the fourth, but the Phils went in order behind him.
Utley blooped a single into center with two outs in the fifth. Howard singled into right and the ball bounced around the Phillies’ pen. Nice hustle had Utley at third, but Fukudome’s throw in from right hit Howard and Utley came in to score to put the Phils up 2-0. Burrell lined to third for the third out.
Dobbs singled with one out in the sixth, but Ruiz hit into a double-play behind him.
Coste led off the seventh with a single. Rollins followed with a ground ball to first. Coste was forced at second for the first out. Victorino walked, pushing Rollins to second, before Utley grounded to second. Victorino was forced as second with Rollins moving to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Howard hit a hard ground ball to first. It went off of Lee’s body and rolled towards second base. Howard busted it down the line, but Lee scurried to the ball and tossed to the pitcher Jeff Samardzija covering. Howard was called out, ending the frame with no run for the Phils. It was a huge play in the game and Howard appeared to have been safe.
Down 3-2 in the eighth, Burrell led off with a single and Taguchi ran for him at first. Werth moved Taguchi to second with a walk. Dobbs got to hit against the righty Samardzija, but flew to left for the first out. Righty Carlos Marmol came in to pitch with Condrey’s spot due to hit. Feliz hit for Condrey and struck out. Coste struck out to set the Phillies down with both runners stranded.
Miserable inning for the Phils, failing to score in a one-run game after putting their first two men on. Dobbs unable to move the runners up against the righty hurt a lot. Having to call on Feliz against the righty in a huge situation says a lot about the state of the Phillies’ bench.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth.
Rollins 0-for-4 with a walk.
Victorino 0-for-4 with a walk. 2-for-19 over the last four games.
Utley 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Howard 1-for-3 with a walk.
Burrell 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Werth 0-for-2 with two walks.
Ruiz 0-for-2 with a walk.
Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49) faces lefty Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23) this afternoon. Lefties have hit .314 with a 1.82 ratio against Lilly this season, righties just .230 with a 1.17 ratio. Over his career, righties and lefties have done about the same against Lilly. Lilly faced the Phils on April 12 and allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings. Myers hasn’t allowed a run in either of his last two starts, allowing 18 hits and four walks over 16 scoreless innings. The Phillies have won five of the last six games that he has started.