I need a Hero – Ryan Howard’s Blast propels Phillies to Sixth Straight Win

By STEPHEN WILDMAN
Staff Writer — swildman@highhopesblog.com
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Ryan Howard's sixth inning blast propelled the Phils to victory. (Photo: AP)

Tonight seemed like the perfect scenario for a reverse jinx going against the Phillies.  They had won five straight coming into the game, Cole Hamels had been pitching lights out as of late, the offense was beginning to click, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who aren’t a good baseball team, are in town.

The reverse karma was absolutely in play early on in the game, after Cole Hamels threw 31 pitches and had to wiggle his way out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning.  It could have been worse (he managed to give up only one run), however, it seemed like one of those games where Cole just didn’t have it.  Which was a shame because the Phillies were blessed with being able to face Diamondbacks pitcher Rodrigo Lopez.  Lopez, who leads the league in homeruns against, came into tonight’s game sporting a 5-9 record with a 4.68 ERA.

After a shaky first inning, in which he walked Mark Reynolds with the bases loaded, it seemed as if Cole had settled in as he retired the Diamondbacks in order during the second and third innings.  But things began to unwind again in the fourth after he gave up a solo homer to Mark Reynolds, and subsequently loaded the bases on a walk, a double, and hit batsman.  Again, however, Cole was able to get out of the inning with just one run allowed.  Cole allowed one more run in the 5th before being replaced by Dave Herndon for the top of the sixth inning.  Cole threw 108 pitches, allowed six hits, and issued four walks in just five innings of work.

The Phillies offense continued to roll against the aforementioned Lopez, scoring nine runs total on thirteen hits.  The Phils were able to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a single by Ryan Howard, which scored Placido Polanco from third base, and a bases loaded walk drawn by Carlos Ruiz.  After the Diamondbacks scored in the top of the 4th and 5th innings, an old friend showed up at the batters box.  Jayson Werth blasted a 2-run homer with Ryan Howard on first after drawing a walk.

After Dave Herndon gave up two more runs in the top of the sixth to give the lead back to Arizona, the game really started to get interesting.  Shane Victorino reached first base on a one-out single, and ended up at third after a ground out by Polanco, and a wild pitch.  Raul Ibanez, who’s been crushing the ball in July, drove Shane home with a two-out single to tie the game at 5-5.  Up came the ‘Big Piece’ Ryan Howard, who blasted a two run opposite field homer to left center, which gave the Phillies a 7-5 lead.  It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson combined to shut out the Diamondbacks for the final three frames.  Cody Ransom tacked on a couple insurance runs with a two-run shot to the left field stands in the bottom of the seventh to make it a 9-5 game, which was also your final score.

With the Atlanta Braves losing to the Washington Nationals, the Phils are now only 3.5 games out of first place in the National League East division standings.

Injuries:  It’s been reported that x-rays on Jimmy Rollins’ foot, which he bruised after fouling off a pitch in yesterday’s game versus the Rockies, were negative and he would only miss 1-3 games…  Shane Victorino left the game in the top of the 7th after tracking down a fly ball in center field.  As he ran to make the catch, replays showed him wincing as he settled under the ball.  He immediately took himself out of the game.  No word on his condition as of yet.

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Filed under game recap, Steve Wildman

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