The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2009 National League East Division Champions!
Tonight the Phillies captured their 3rd straight NL East championship. They did it behind a full team effort.
Pedro Martinez and Kyle Kendrick tag-teamed the Astros with a combined quality start. Pedro threw 82 pitches over four innings making a case for a starting job in the postseason. He was not as dominating as J.A. Happ in his performance last night but proved he is at least healthy enough to pitch. Kyle Kendrick, meanwhile, made a statement in his three innings allowing no runs on two hits while striking out four. There is a better chance he’ll make the roster after the unfortunate news emerged that Jamie Moyer will need season-ending groin surgery.
The offense built upon last night’s outburst with double-digit runs – the thrust of which came during a four-run fourth. JRoll (now batting over .250) and Shane Victorino followed up with back-to-back triples in the fifth. A Raul Ibanez homer in the seventh helped to secure his first appearance in a playoff series.
With the game well in hand at 10-3 going into the final two innings, Charlie Manuel looked to Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre to hold the lead. Then in most dramatic fashion before a boisterous sell-out crowd and with just one out remaining to clinch the division, Manuel called for Brad Lidge. If you were caught up in the emotions of the moment while Lidge was warming up, you may have missed the end of the Marlins-Braves game in which the Fish outlasted the Braves to officially crown the Phillies NL East champs. Just seconds later, Lidge needed only a single pitch to get Lance Berkman to ground out to Ryan Howard. And the celebration began!
After we clear out the burning champagne, our eyes will now turn to the standings as we follow the Cardinals (90 wins) and Dodgers (93 wins) to determine who secures home field advantage in the playoffs (the Phillies have 92 wins with 4 games to play). With the Braves loss, the Rockies inch closer to clinching the Wild Card.
This is the second time the Phillies have won three consecutive division crowns. They did it before in 1976, 1977 and 1978.