Monday, October 18, 2010

Phils take Game 2 behind Oswalt, Rollins

The Phillies and Roy Oswalt were both looking to rebound in different ways. The Phils had just dropped their first series opener since 2007, and they did so with their ace on the mound.

Oswalt was looking to bounce back from a NLDS loss to the Reds. It was his first post-season start with the Phillies and he struggled from the onset.

They bounced back in a big way, taking Game 2 6-1 to even the series at one. The Phillies got to Jonathan Sanchez in the first inning, well, sort of. They waited him out and made him throw pitches. He eventually walked Jimmy Rollins to forced in a run. They left the bases loaded, but took a 1-0 lead without picking up a hit.

Oswalt was a force out of the gate. He stepped up and proved to be the pitcher that everyone already knew he is, but were waiting to see. Cody Ross broke up his no hitter in the fifth with, you guessed it, another solo home run. It tied the score at one at the time, but the Phillies got it right back in the bottom of the fifth.

The lineup manufactured a big run. Shane Victorino led off with a double, Chase Utley moved him to third and Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly drove him in.

Oswalt got fired up at the plate in the seventh. After using Utley's bat his first time up, Oswalt asked Rollins for one of his. Word of Oswalt's single made its way to Rollins in the batting cage, which he said inspired him.

That gave me confidence tonight, actually," Rollins said. "See, the bat still has hits in it. It's just the person using it."

After a sac bunt moved Oswalt to second and an intention walk to Utley, Polanco singled up the middle. As Oswalt rounded third, third base coach Sam Perlozzo held up the stop sign. Oswalt was already at least fifteen feet past the bag, so he turned around to find the ball. He kept right on running through the stop sign and scored with a nice slide at the plate.

A few batters later, Rollins showed up. He smacked a bases clearing double high off the right-center field wall, putting the Phils up 6-1.

Oswalt took care of the rest, finishing with eight strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits and three walks while striking out nine.

Ryan Madon got into some trouble in the ninth with a walk and a hit, but he closed out the game with a scoreless frame.

Tuesday's Game 3 is a big swing game in the series. The Phillies would hate to lose it and need to rely on Joe Blanton in Game 4 to avoid falling behind 3-1.

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