Friday night’s game versus the New York Metropolitans had all of the makings of a classic let-down game. The Phillies were coming off of an emotional three-game series sweep of the Atlanta Braves, Joe Blanton was throwing against the Mets’ knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who one-hit the Phils’ the last time they saw him, and the Mets were due for a win in the midst of their five game losing streak. Oh, and the Phillies had won 10 in a row. Well as the old cliche’ goes, that’s why they play the game. So you can now make that an 11 game winning streak.
Joe Blanton (8-6) pitched seven innings while scattering six hits and giving up two earned runs on a two-run homerun to Mets’ rightfielder Angel Pagan in the top of the 4th inning. It was Blanton’s fourth straight winning decision, and the Phillies have won 8 of the last 11 games he’s started, dating back to July 26th. Big Joe hasn’t lost since a decision since July 21st, a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. You can say what you want about him, but the fact remains that for whatever reason, the team wins when he is on the mound.
The Phillies hitters, coming off three nail-biters vs. the Braves, had much more success against the aforementioned Dickey (11-8) than they had back on August 13th, a game in which he pitched a complete game one-hitter at Citi Field. The Phils tagged Dickey for three runs on eight hits during his six inning outing. Shane Victorino provided most of the firepower, blasting a lead-off homerun to the left field seats in the bottom of the first, and a double to left that scored Wilson Valdez from second in the bottom of the second inning. Carlos Ruiz singled to score Raul Ibanez from second in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Phils’ the go-ahead and winning run at 3-2.
Ryan Madson pitched a hitless eighth inning while striking out two. Brad Lidge continued to reinforce his second-half dominance by picking up his 27th save of the season. The Mets’ did threaten in the top of the ninth after Ike Davis lined a double off of the left field wall. Davis moved to third after a fly-out by Pagan. Lidge was able to strike out pinch hitter Jesus Feliciano to end the game.
With the win, the Phillies lower their magic number to clinch the division to 3. A Braves loss versus the Washington Nationals would reduce that number to 2, meaning the Phillies could officially clinch with a combination of a win and a Braves loss during Saturday’s games. The Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick (10-9) to the mound tomorrow versus the Mets’ rookie Dillon Gee (1-1). The Braves have Derek Lowe going against the Nationals’ Yunesky Maya.
Let the scoreboard watching begin!