Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hamels' gem puts Phils 1 GB ATL. Extends WC lead to 3

The Phillies remain red-hot here in September, a month in which they've thrived in recent years. After winning five of six on the west coast, including a sweep over the Padres, who possess the NL's best record, the Phillies continue to show they can win games in any fashion.

The Phillies have closed to just one game behind the Braves in the NL East, and hold a three game lead in the wild card.

Stopping briefly in Colorado for a make-up game against the Rockies, the Phils added another come from behind victory to their resume in a wild affair. Joe Blanton had a bad start and put the Phillies in an early 4-0 hole.

In the top of the sixth, the Phillies cut the deficit to 6-3. Recently recalled lefty Antonio Bastardo took the mound in the bottom of the sixth and this is when things really started to get crazy. Chris Nelson hit a lead-off bloop single to center and Eric Young followed with an oddly placed bunt near the second base bag which put the first two runners aboard. Dexter Fowler followed with a bunt and was called safe on Ryan Howard's throw to Chase Utley at first. Replays indicated that Fowler should have been out. The bases were loaded after a pop-up and two bunts.

Bastardo, though, mostly pitched out of trouble. He struck out Carlos Gonzalez, and should have induced an inning ending double play from Troy Tulowitzki, but Bastardo deflected the ball away from Jimmy Rollins for an infield single, scoring the only run of the inning.

The Phillies immediately went to work in the a nine run seventh, taking a 12-7 lead. They would need all 12 runs, as they held on for a 12-11 victory. Here's a brief and simple recap of the spectacular inning: Polanco single, Utley single, Howard home run, Werth home run, Ibanez fly out, Victorino single, Schneider single, Francisco single, Rollins single, Polanco strike out, Utley grand slam, Howard line out.

Brad Lidge held on by the skin of his teeth for his 19th save of the season.

The Phils returned home last night to open a set against Milwaukee. Once again, the Phillies played an unlikely game and proved that they can win games in any fashion. After the slug fest the previous night, the Phillies took the first game from the Brewers, 1-0.

Cole Hamels was the story of this one, throwing seven shutout innings of three hit ball. He struck out seven and walked three. He was lifted in the eighth for Jose Contreras after throwing 103 pitches, 70 for strikes. Contreras fell behind two batters 3-0, but pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two. Ryan Madson picked up his fifth save of the season after a perfect ninth.

The Phils only mustered four hits against Milwaukee starter Chris Capuano, and none off the Brewers' bullpen. Carlos Ruiz knocked in the only run of the ballgame on a ground-out in the second inning.

Roy Halladay takes the mound tonight against Dave Bush. Halladay looks to get back on track; he's lost his last two starts after winning his previous six.

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