It’s been a long time since the Phillies have occupied first place. But they are finally back on top of the National League East for the first time since May 30th. They defeated the Florida Marlins with an 8-7 nail biting victory.
The Phillies got a decent outing from Joe Blanton tonight. Blanton pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up four runs on six hits. He also struck out five and had two walks.
Blanton had a little trouble early giving up several extra base hits in the first few innings. But Blanton settled down to give the Phillies a solid outing.
The Phillies offense erupted again with the line up shake up. Placido Polanco had a three-hit game and the winning RBI. Raul Ibanez fell a double short of the cycle while driving in three.
Jimmy Rollins had two RBIs from the five-hole, Ryan Howard homered and scored three times, and Shane Victorino had a two-hit game while scoring twice.
The Phillies did cough up a 7-4 lead in the eighth inning. Bad pitching coupled with Jayson Werth’s blunder of a throw to third base were responsible for losing the lead.
In the eighth inning, the first two hitters recorded outs. Then Victorino singled with two outs. He then swiped second base and later scored on a single by Polanco.
Ryan Madson pitched a clean ninth inning to record the win after blowing the save in the eighth. The Phillies have reclaimed first place for the first time in 100 days.
Madson has been a horse for the Phillies coming down the stretch. He has pitched nine of the last 12 days with 11 strike outs and no earned runs in nine innings pitched. Madson has also allowed only two earned runs dating back to July 29. In that span of 24 games, he dropped his ERA from 5.40 to 2.74.
The Pittsburg Pirates beat the Braves to help the Phillies climb into first place. There’s surely a lot of baseball left to be played. But the Phillies offense has seemed to be on track which makes them incredibly dangerous heading down the stretch.
2B: Howard (20), Ruiz (22). 3B: Ibanez (5). HR: Ibanez (13), Victorino (17), Howard (27).
WP: Madson (5-2). LP: Veras (2-2).
Kevin McAlpin of ESPN radio said that Brad Lidge is not concerned with his sore elbow and should be ready to pitch by Friday. Lidge did not pitch the ninth, which was a save situation.