Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phillies Split with Marlins

Philadelphia Phillies vs St. Louis Cardinals

The Phillies took Game 1 by a score of 9-3 in their important doubleheader against the Florida Marlins.  They took an unconventional route to get there as they played a game of all or nothing. Phillies went down swinging a total of 16 times, but somehow managed to amass 9 runs.

Marlins starter Josh Johnson came out throwing smoke, pumping 97-99 mph fastballs past Rollins, Victorino and Utley to strike out the side in the first. By the fifth inning, Johnson recorded 10 k's, but Phillies hitters scratched out 4 runs. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom half of the inning, so a night that started out so promising ended in frustration.

Conversely, Phillies starter Joe Blanton pitched one of his best games of the year, blanking the Marlins on a pair of hits and walks over 7 innings. He fanned a total of 9 batters, showing command of his fastball, curve and change-up throughout the game.

The Phillies used small ball to plate single runs in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the 5th inning, Jayson Werth singled to center with two outs and the bases loaded to extend the lead to 4-0.  They blew the game open with a five spot in the 8th. The big blows were Raul Ibanez's 32nd home run and Ryan Howard's 2-RBI single.

The Marlins took a pass at a rally in the home 8th, scoring three runs off rookie Sergio Escalona. Tyler Walker recorded a strike out to end the rally and Clay Condrey registered a 1-2-3 9th inning to secure the win.

In game two, it was simply a case of nothing for the Phils....namely no runs. They have previously owned Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but tonight was a totally different story. The team in red and gray could only muster a couple of Chase Utley hits off him in his 8 innings of work, and then Leo Nunez finished them off by setting them down in order in the 9th.

Jamie Moyer took his first loss ever in the Marlins home park after going 8-0 prior to tonight. He surrendered 3 runs over 6 innings, including home runs to Dan Uggla and Cody Ross.

Gambling fans surely would have bet on a reverse scenario, with the Marlins staff ace going in the first game and the pitcher who struggles the most with the Phillies starting in the nightcap. Overall, though, a split hurt the Marlins much more with the dwindling number of games left on the schedule. The game 1 win dropped the Phillies magic number to 5 as the Braves won tonight against the New York Mets. Tomorrow night's game would seem to favor the Phillies as surging Cole Hamels squares off against young Rick VandenHurk, who has bounced back and forth between the minors and the big club. Of course, as tonight demonstrates, the game is played on the field.

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