With the addition of Hunter Pence, the offense is expected to ignite. Last night, Ryan Howard saw more pitches in the zone, with Pence providing protection. The talk is all about Pence, but Raul Ibanez is showing that there is no need for him to ride the pine. Known as a streaky hitter, Ibanez is in the midst of a hot streak.
Ibanez finished the day 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs. He started the action with a solo shot in the first inning. The one run was enough for starter Vance Worley, until the fifth inning.
Worley came back to earth, allowing four runs over six innings. He struck out seven, but allowed a go-ahead home run to Lyle Overbay in the sixth inning. The Pirates added a run in the seventh on Garrett Jones‘ double, leading 5-3. It looked as if the Pirates would salvage a game from the series, but Ibanez had other ideas.
After doubling, Ryan Howard made a huge baserunning mistake on a fielder’s choice, and it looked like Joe Biemel would see his way out of the jam. Clint Hurdle decided to stay with the righty against the lefty, and it proved costly. Ibanez jacked his second home run of the game into the left field seats. The game would be even at five.
With two runners on base, Chase Utley had the perfect opportunity to win the game. However, he flied to deep center, ending the inning. It was time for free baseball.
Antonio Bastardo tossed a 1-2-3 tenth inning, giving it a chance for the offense to win it. Hunter Pence doubled, getting into scoring position for the red-hot Ibanez. He didn’t disappoint, lining a base hit to right field. Pence rounded third, and scored easily to give the Phillies a 6-5 victory.
The offense is heating up at the right time. Ibanez, Howard, Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are all swinging the bat better. With Pence in the fifth spot, the offense is that much scarier. The pitching has been great all year, and now it is time for the offense to do the same.