Game 1: Phillies Win 3-1 Behind Strong Pitching
Under an overcast sky and a few raindrops, the Phillies took the first game of the double header with the Marlins by a score of 3-1. Kyle Kendrick pitched five innings while giving up just one run on a solo shot by Logan Morrison. That came in the 5th inning, and broke up Kendrick’s no-hitter. Michael Stutes came in to pitch the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings, a good sign from the young righty.
The Phillies’ offense got going early, but stalled after that. Doubles by Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Anibal Sanchez settled down and pitched a great game from that point on. Morrison’s homer put the score at 2-1 in the fifth.
In the 7th, the Phillies loaded the bases with one out. Shane Victorino stepped up to the plate and failed to even make contact, getting called out on strikes. It looked as though the opportunity was spoiled, but Ryan Webb helped the Phillies out, walking Placido Polanco to give the Phillies a run.
In the following inning, Antonio Bastardo recorded just one out before Brad Lidge was called upon to clean up. Lidge gave up a single, but Raul Ibanez threw out Omar Infante at the plate to preserve the lead–and Bastardo’s ERA. After a walk to load the bases, he struck out John Buck on three pitches to end the inning that received a loud ovation from the crowd.
The Phillies threatened in the bottom of the eighth, hitting three straight singles of Mike Dunn to load the bases, again with one out. This time, Michael Martinez and Ross Gload spoiled the opportunity with a pop-out and a ground-out.
Ryan Madson came in to close out the game and got himself into trouble right away. He gave up back-to-back singles to Bryan Petersen and Donnie Murphy before he got an out. After a bunt to move the runners, he threw a filthy 0-2 changeup that Emilio Bonafacio had no chance on. Infante swung at the very next pitch and popped up to Carlos Ruiz to end the game. The win was the Phillies’ 96th of the year, one away from their total last year.
The Magic Number to win the East went down to three with the win.
Game 2: Lee Narrowly Misses Shutout, Phils Walk It Off in 10
Ryan Howard hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning to send the Phillies to victory. The Magic Number to win the division is now down to just two.
Lee tossed nine innings, coming within a strike of his 7th shutout on the year. Jose Lopez had other ideas, sending and 0-2 cutter in the seats. Lee’s strong start is something that isn’t surprising, given his trend as of late. He’s seemed virtually unhittable over his last eight starts–easily the Phillies best pitcher over that stretch. He’s been so good that he has forced himself into the Cy Young race alongside Clayton Kershaw and teammate Roy Halladay. Lee’s final line looked like this: 9.0 IP/5 H/1 R/1ER/12 K.
For the Marlins, Alex Sanabia (who?) pitched quite well, with his lone mistake proving to be the difference in the game until the ninth inning. That mistake was a line drive home run given up to John Mayberry Jr that barely got over the wall. The swirling winds and cold weather made for a tough night for the hitters.
Now with 97 wins, the Phillies have matched their win total from last year in 14 less games. And with the magic number being just two, it means that the Phillies can clinch the NL East tomorrow–or any day from this point on.
This double header was eerily similar to the one 3 months ago. Both double headers were against the Marlins and Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies got a strong start from Kyle Kendrick with a Logan Morrison home run being the lone run given up in both game 1′s. They had a walk off victory in both nightcaps. But this time, it means that the Phillies are that much closer to the playoffs.
The Phils welcome the Cardinals to Citizens Bank Park on Friday for a 4-game set. The NL East is likely to be clinched this weekend.
Oh yeah, things are definitely getting funner.