In a very entertaining, rain-soaked game, the Phillies pulled one out with a little offense, a little pitching a lot of heavy breathing. The 8-6 victory gives the Phils a full two-game lead over the rest of the NL East, as the Marlins, Mets and Braves all lost.
Where to start? Let’s go with The Man, who had three hits â€” a big double, a bigger 23rd home run and a biggest triple. Utley has eight hits in his last four games. Besides him, the other regulars all chipped in. Best was a two-out, bases-loaded single by Jayson Werth, scoring two and getting the Phils right back in the game after Cole Hamels gave up a two-run home run to Michael Young.
Hamels wasn’t at his best â€” thank a very good Rangers lineup for that â€” but he fought through seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking two. He probably pressed a bit in the sixth inning, wanting to get the Rangers out so the game could be called official with rain pouring down, but when he had to, he made his pitches.
Chad Durbin played setup man yet again and had some trouble (though one can point to a Howard fielding blunder as the catalyst); JC Romero came into the game with the bases jammed and, while he walked a runner home, he made the important pitches and struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a primetime at bat. Brad Lidge gave up two hits in the ninth but was his grimy self, bidding adieu to Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley with that slider. Is there any question that Lidge shouldn’t get an offer to pitch in Philly past this year?
It was great to see the offense get a few big hits in this one. Vicente Padilla seemed to be a nice elixir. And they got their hits in bunches, not wasting all their opportunities like in the past. Thirteen men left on base is pretty good when you score eight.
And hopefully the engine starts running for Jimmy Rollins. He murdered one to right-center, scoring Werth. But he wasn’t satisfied with a triple, gunning for home. His slide was just a moment too late and he was out, but boy was it a good, gutsy play. Hey, maybe this whole game was the fire the Phils offense needed. And not a moment too soon.
Associated Press photo