As proven the past few seasons, just when the Phillies seem to be down and out, i.e. being swept at home by the Houston Astros, a trip to the west coast is just what the doctor ordered. That trend seems to be taking form during this current road trip, after the Phillies won again today 3-1 over San Diego. Today’s win comes on the heals of yet another marathon outing last night, which they won 3-2 in 12 innings. The Phillies are 17-9 against the National League West division teams so far in 2010.
Starter Joe Blanton tossed six strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits. He also walked one batter and struck out three. As is common with Big Joe’s starts, there was nothing spectacular about his outing, but he was certainly efficient with his pitches. He had thrown just 73 pitches in his six innings of work, and was taken out for pinch hitter Mike Sweeney in the top of the 7th inning with runners on first and third base.
Blanton’s biggest hiccup was giving up an RBI single to opposing pitcher Jon Garland with two outs in the bottom of the 5th inning. Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge combined to retire the final nine Padres in order in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, respectively. Lidge looked much better today than he did in last night’s blown save, in which he balked with the bases loaded, allowing San Diego to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
Offensively, it was more of the same for the Phillies, who managed only three hits during the game. The difference in today’s game versus recent performances is that they made their hits count.
In the top of the 5th, Jayson Werth led off with getting hit by a Garland pitch. He was able to move to second base on a ground out by Raul Ibanez. The next batter, Shane Victorino, lined a single up the middle to score Werth and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. In the top of the 7th, Werth drew a walk to lead off the inning, and after a pop foul out by Ibanez, Victorino smashed a triple to left center to score Werth again and give the team a 2-1 lead. Catcher Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked, which led manager Charlie Manuel to pinch hit Sweeney for Blanton. Sweeney hit into a fielder’s choice by barely beating out a double play throw to first base by second baseman David Eckstein, which allowed Victorino to score from third.
Considering no one scores runs at San Diego’s Petco Park, at least the Phils have an excuse for a few games for their lack of offensive production. And luckily, one guy who’s used to pitching without getting any support, Cole Hamels, is throwing tomorrow in the series finale. Hamels is opposed by Padres’ Clayton Richard, who is an impressive 12-5 with a 3.55 ERA this season.
The Phillies moved within 1.5 games of Atlanta, but remain two games out, since Atlanta beat Florida 12-3 to end their four-game losing skid. The Giants host the Diamondbacks at home tonight.