Late Inning Heroics

The birthday may have belonged to Jayson Werth but the day itself belonged to another outfielder. Raul Ibanez’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth gave the Phillies the 5-4 lead and victory Thursday afternoon to split the two-game series with the Cubs. Jose Contreras fought off a ninth-inning threat by Chicago to preserve the win and notch his second save.

Joe Blanton only needed 71 pitches in seven innings of great work as he left the game with a 4-3 lead. He allowed three runs on five hits, a walk, and three strike outs. Danys Baez picked up his second win of the season as he pitched the rest of the eighth after Antonio Bastardo gave up a solo homer.

Ibanez had two hits on the day, his second coming at the most important time. Chase Utley hit a solo homer in the first and Jimmy Rollins’ three-run shot in the sixth gave the Phillies the 4-1 lead before it disappeared the next two innings. Werth had the day off but pinch-hit in the seventh and played the rest of the game.

Philadelphia had a huge scare in the ninth inning. Alfonso Soriano was hit with a full-count on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. He then got to third when Mike Fontenot singled to right field. With no outs, Contreras tightened up and struck out the next two batters before getting Geovany Soto to pop up to end the game.

It was hot as hell at the park and the fans grew extremely irritable in the ninth when Soriano took time after fouling the ball off his foot and then broke his bat on a foul ball during his 11-pitch at bat.

It was also nice seeing the offense score. The sixth and ninth innings were what this offense was capable of doing: getting on base and either driving the man home or hitting a three-run bomb.

The Phillies also got another quality start from the rotation, good signs for a team that has a hurting bull pen and a weird offense. The Phillies will have two of their studs next series versus Boston as they begin inter-league play on Friday.

Doubles: Polanco (10). HR: Utley (10), Rollins (2).

WP: Baez (2-1). LP: Grabow (0-3). S: Contreras (2)

Boxscore.

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