Second baseman Chase Utley hits a three-run bomb in the second inning. AP Photo/Tom Mihalek
Ryan Howard had a couple twin-killings, his style, Friday night. The Big Piece erupted for four extra-base hits, falling a single shy of the cycle, as the Phillies beat Minnesota 9-5, extending their winning streak to three.
Joe Blanton did tonight what the Phillies need him to do every start. He went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out one. He hadn’t allowed a hit through the first four innings but began to falter a bit. He still gave the Phillies a good enough performance for the win.
Howard was on his game tonight, going 4-for-4 with a double, triple, and two home runs. Chase Utley quelled thoughts that he was injured with a three-run blast in the second inning that Howard followed up with a solo shot. Placido Polanco also had a pair of hits.
Jim Thome received a huge standing ovation when he pinch-hit in the fifth inning, earning himself a free pass to first. The former-Phillies slugger was a fan-favorite in his stay in Philly and was one of the key players that transitioned the Phillies into a National League power house.
Jason Kubel hit a triple off of Blanton to brake up his early no-hit bid in the fifth inning. Kubel’s shot hit off the base of the right-center field and rolled away from Shane Victorino. Kubel rounded third but ran out of gas as he was thrown out at the plate by Utley.
The Phillies got a huge scare in the eighth inning when Carlos Ruiz was hit in the back of the helmet from the barrel of Kubel’s broken bat. He went to the hospital and we are waiting on the results from the tests.
Scott Mathieson made his 2010 debut and first appearance in almost four years. He got whacked around in the ninth inning, allowing two runs on three hits in 2/3 innings pitched.
Doubles: Howard (12). Triples: Howard (2). HR: Utley (11), Howard 2 (13).
WP: Blanton (2-4). LP: Blackburn (6-4)