Nine. That’s the Magic Number for the Phillies to win the East. They got there behind Roy Halladay‘s gem on Friday night, defeating the Brewers 5-3. Doc tossed eight innings, looking on point all night. This was unlike many of his recent starts where, although he may have gotten results, looked like he was struggling. Make no mistake: This was the Cy Halladay that we’re used to watching.
The only run he gave up came on a sacrifice fly by Yuniesky Betancourt that scored Casey McGehee; after McGehee lead off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. That was it. McGehee’s double was one of just four hits that Halladay gave up and the only extra base hit. He struck out nine, and lowered his ERA to 2.44.
The Phillies didn’t waste any time, scoring three runs in the first. All three came on a no-doubt-about-it Ryan Howard home run to right field. From there, both offenses were held in check until the bottom of the fourth. Halladay pitched himself into a bases loaded, one out jam, but like the masterful magician that he is found a way to escape it. He induced a double play by Betancourt and got out of the inning unscathed.
But as soon as he was pulled, things went downhill. Antonio Bastardo came in to pitch the ninth, presumably to finish the game. However, he only threw eight pitches before he was pulled. He gave up a leadoff single followed by a walk and gave way to Ryan Madson to clean up the mess.
Mad Dog induced a slow ground ball off the bat of Jerry Hairston to get the first out on a bang-bang play at first. The next batter was Betancourt, and he singled in a run to cut the lead to three. Jonathan Lucroy then hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to just two.
But then, with two outs and the tying run at the plate, George Kottaras decided he was going to helped the Phillies out. He swung at the first pitch, rolling over a ground ball to 2nd on a pitch that was on the outer half of the plate. Ballgame. The win is the Phillies 5th in a row, with all five coming at the #2 and #3 teams in the NL.
NOTES: Pete Orr saw his life flash before his eyes when he found himself directly in the path of stampeding sausages. He pulled a slick move to avoid impact and stayed in the game.