They just don’t make easy, do they?
All year long, the Phillies have tortured themselves and their audacious fan base with tight low scoring victories led by their star-studded rotation of aces. With pitching, they have maintained the best record in baseball for most of the year, and have kept their NL East foes at bay in the standings.
Friday night, it was tight once again, but the scenario had changed, and in a major way. It wasn’t even about Roy Halladay, the ace of aces who took the hill for the Phillies. This game was about an explosion, followed by an implosion, but ultimately, a 7-5 victory over the lowly Chicago Cubs.
KABOOM!!! The explosion!
The Phillies put up 7 runs against Cubs’ ace Carlos Zambrano in Game 2 of their four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have generally had Zambrano’s number over the years. Nevertheless, the Phillies offense has been zombie like all year long, making the offensive output, ultra-impressive.
It all started with a manufactured run, when Ryan Howard grounded out to score Shane Victorino in the first inning.
Domonic Brown delivered his 2nd home run of the season into the right field seats in the 2nd inning, the two run variety, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
Halladay and Zambrano performed their “ace-ly” duties from that point on. Zambrano got his 1500th career strikeout in the 4th inning against by fanning Jimmy Rollins. However, things changed in the 7th inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, Zambrano walked the leadoff batter, in the person of Jimmy Rollins. He intentionally walked Chase Utley, and finally walked Ryan Howard. That led to the at bat of Placido Polanco.
Placido Polanco deposited, what would be Zambrano’s last pitch, over the left field wall. It was a salami that cleared them all. Polanco’s grand slam made it 7-0. Game, Set, Match, right?
Halladay was pulled after the 7th inning. It made sense. There would be no logical reason to leave Halladay out there in a laugher of game, especially when he has had a heavy workload for most of the season. Thus, the 8th inning began with Jose Contreras and JC Romero replacing Doc Halladay on the mound.
KABOOM! The implosion!
In the top of the 8th, the Cubs loaded the bases against Contreras, and scored 2 runs with a RBI single by Amaris Ramirez. Contreras, who has been solid in his time in Philadelphia, proved to still be shaky in his comeback from injury.
In only got worst though. Romero replaced Contreras and started his work with a walk to Blake DeWitt. Romero followed that by surrounding a single to Geovany Soto which allowed another run. All of a sudden it was a 7-3 Phillies’ lead. Romero, who has been miserably bad, followed that by allowing yet another single to Louis Montanez. The Cubs brought 2 more home. It was then 7-5 Phillies.
Just like that Romero with Contreras had helped to shrink the lead from 7 to 5, in an instant.
Michael Stutes, who has been fabulous so far this year, brought calm to end the Phillies’ newfound storm. He finished the 8th and started the 9th. He got a big boost from Carlos Ruiz, who helped complete a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play when Darwin Barney tried to take second base After Stutes had struck out Starlin Castro. Antonio Bastardo came on to get his 2nd save of the season, as closer Ryan Madson has been overworked of late.
Just like that the Phillies (38-26), had somehow ended up, with their normal order of things, another notch in the win column. Though, once it again, they sweated for it. This time, however, they didn’t even have to.