Friday, June 6, 2008

Johnson's Bobble Allows Comeback

With two outs in the ninth, men on first and second, and the Phillies down 2-1, Chris Coste hit a pop up down the first base line. It looked like the game was over, but Kelly Johnson bobbled the ball in his glove and Eric Bruntlett scored from second base to tie the game. After two more Phillies runs, Shane Victorino nailed Gregor Blanco at home plate in the bottom of the tenth to end the game and the Phillies won 4-3.

Most of the game was a pitching duel between Jamie Moyer and Tim Hudson. Hudson went 7 2/3 innings and allowed only one run - an RBI single by Chase Utley to score Victorino in the first. Jamie Moyer went 5 1/3 innings and didn't allow a run until Brian McCann's two run home run knocked him out of the game. The game remained 2-1 until Kelly Johnson's bobble in the bottom of the ninth allowed the game to be tied.

Once the game was tied, Tom Gordon pitched the ninth and didn't allow a run, but allowed a double to Johnson and intentionally walked Chipper Jones. He then struck out Mark Teixeira and got Jeff Francoeur to pop out to Ryan Howard. In the tenth inning, Manny Acosta was brought in to pitch for the Braves. The inning started off with a double by People's Phillies Blog favorite Chris Snelling, a sac bunt by Jimmy Rollins, and a triple from Shane Victorino to score pinch runner So Taguchi. Acosta was taken out and lefty Royce Ring was brought in to face Utley and Howard. Utley hit a double, scoring Victorino, but Howard flew out and after an intentional walk to Pat Burrell, Bruntlett popped out.

Brad Lidge was brought in to secure the win for the Phillies, and struck out the first batter, McCann. Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco then got on base and Greg Norton came to bat with men at the corners. Blanco stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position. Norton struck out, bringing up Yunel Escobar. Escobar hit a single into center field, Anderson scored, and it looked like Blanco was going to as well. However, Victorino's cannon of an arm fired the ball to Chris Coste and nailed Blanco at the plate, winning the game.

The Phillies offense was unable to capitalize on the eight men that were left on base, but the Fightin' Phils were able to come back when they had to. For most of the night, the lack of offense was no issue as Jamie Moyer shut out the Braves through five innings, continuing the streak of good Phillies starting pitching. The bullpen was good once again, not allowing any runs except for one by Brad Lidge. At this point in the season, every part of the team seems to be working well. At the beginning of the season, while the bullpen was good, the offense took a while to wake up and the rotation was inconsistent. Now, the offense is more active, with 5 starters hitting above .280 and Burrell and Howard making up for lower average with a great deal of power and clutch hitting on Burrell's part. The starting pitching is the last piece to fall into place, not having allowed more than 2 runs in the past four days. Cole Hamels is King Cole as we were reminded of by yesterday's complete game shutout, Brett Myers is figuring out how to be an ace, and Eaton, Moyer, and Kendrick have been solid all season. The team has won ten of its last twelve games and the two losses were Hamels' off-night when he allowed seven runs, and the 2-0 pitchers' duel between Myers and Edinson Volquez. If the back end of the rotation can continue to pitch well, this will continue to be one of the best teams in the league.

1 comment:

Charles Berman said...

Chris Snelling delivers again! That double was essential to the Phillies' taking the lead.