It’s baby steps for Joe Blanton.
In his return from the disabled list, Blanton allowed three runs in the first two innings. He settled down as he scattered eight hits over five innings along with two strikeouts and two walks as the Phils beat the Marlins, 6-4, Monday night.
Blanton also forced four double play balls in his five innings, an inkling of the keep-it-down approach taught in high school.
Jimmy Rollins started the first of a three-game series against the Marlins with a lead-off homer making it his 36th career lead-off homer. However, that would be the only run the Phillies scored in the first inning after Howard gets caught up at home plate.
The Marlins struck back in the bottom of the 1st when Gaby Sanchez doubled to center field scoring Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez giving them a 2-1 lead over the Phils.
Blanton then gave up a walk to Stanton, but the inning would end with the former Phillie Greg Dobbs hitting a liner to Howard who tossed to second to start a double play.
The Marlins were able to tack on another run when Coghlan hit an RBI single to score Omar Infante taking a 3-1 lead in the 2nd.
The Phils answered in the top of the 3rd when Blanton hit a lead-off single, his second hit of the season. Rollins followed suit with a single of his own to right field. Placido Polanco singled with one out to load the bases for Ryan Howard, who hit an RBI single cutting the Marlins lead 3-2.
The inning continued to get interesting as Gload singled to left to score Howard, but there was a throwing error on Emilio Bonafacio to score Polanco after Marlins starter Javier Vazquez fumbled the ball at the plate.
The runs kept coming in the 5th for the Phillies. Shane Victorino hit a lead-off triple to start the inning. Polanco followed with a sacrifice fly to score Victorino making it 5-3.
Vazquez then walked Howard and the Marlins called for a pitching change with one out in the 5th. Edward Mujica entered and gave up a single to Raul Ibanez and Howard advanced to 3rd with one out. Gload hit an RBI single to bring the Phillies up to a 6-3 lead.
Sanchez shook up Vance Worley in the bottom of the 8th by hitting a lead-off homer, cutting the Phillies lead to two runs. Worley tight roped out of trouble as he retired Mike Stanton, Dobbs and John Buck to get out of the inning.
Despite allowing a leadoff single, Ryan Madson shut the door for the save. Madson is now 2-0 with four saves in as many chances with a .064 ERA as the replacement for Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge.
Roy Halladay will face Josh Johnson tomorrow night.
2B: Howard (8). 3B: Victorino (5). HR: Rollins (2).
WP: Blanton (1-1). LP: Vazquez (2-3). S: Madson (4).