Citizens Bank Park –
During the middle of a seemingly normal at-bat, fans began to cheer. All in attendance were well aware of what was happening across the turnpike in Pittsburgh. The Atlanta Braves were losing, the Phillies were winning, and all was right with the world again.
Wait, you thought it would be that easy? Wrong.
With the game tied at seven in the eighth, Shane Victorino slapped a two-out, bloop single to center field. He then took second base on an aggressive attempt that Charlie Manuel said was his own doing. Placido Polanco followed that up by going to right field, scoring Victorino, and giving the Phillies an 8-7 lead, which they would not relinquish. Polanco was one of many heroes to step forward.
The rallying began for the Phillies in the fourth inning, down 3-1. The fun picked up as Raul Ibanez went yard to the opposite field to take on another run. Ibanez had been previously been mired in a power drought – it was his first homer since August 24. The real fireworks came in the fifth inning, just as Joe Blanton was settling in.
Shane Victorino led off with a home run to right field to tie the game at three. Later in the inning, with one on and two out, Ryan Howard unloaded one into the left-center field seats to make it 4-3 Phillies. A 4-3 lead became 7-4 by the seventh inning, as the crooked numbers were scattered across the board. The two run inning was made possible by a Jimmy Rollins sac fly on a 3-0 count and a huge Raul Ibanez triple scoring Ryan Howard.
Blanton was, at times, erratic. He was also, at times, on point. Blanton pitched into the seventh, giving up four runs (two earned) while striking out five and walking two. Just another day at work for Blanton who has bent, a lot, but hasn’t quite broken over his past few starts (excluding Colorado).
Marlins starter Chris Volstad was shaky as well, giving up three homers. All told, the big righty gave up five earned over five frames.
Florida’s offense nearly kept pace. Mike Stanton continued to terrorize the good people of left field as he smashed his third homer in two days off of Jose Contreras in the seventh. Logan Morrison is also on a tear, which didn’t stop tonight. He went 2-for-4 and has reached base safely in 28 consecutive games. The late Marlin comeback, however, wasn’t enough. It couldn’t stand up to the offensive fireworks, which were needed tonight. Nearly every Phillie in the lineup made their presence known.
Defensively, Jayson Werth provided the lowlight of the evening in the eighth with his errant throw behind the runner at third base. Werth, who was a late insertion into the order, was then pulled by Manuel later that inning on a double-switch, solidifying his spot as the goat for the night. The bullpen tried to trump him, but fell just short.
Ugly appearances by Bastardo, Romero, and Contreras stood out from the bullpen. Luckily, Chad Durbin and winning pitcher Ryan Madson were there to douse the flames and send the faithful home happy, knowing that first place has a new, old tenant.
NOTES: Brad Lidge was unavailable due to a tender right elbow. He said after the game that he would “definitely” be ready for Friday’s game against the Mets. Charlie Manuel somewhat reiterated that thought in his press conference.