After taking game one Tuesday from the Indians, Cole Hamels was rocked Wednesday as the Phillies dropped game two of a two game set with the Indians 10-2, to split the series. The Phillies had their second off-day of the week Thursday, and it certainly wasn’t a quiet one, as Jimmy Rollins interview with MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki caught some headlines. However, the Phillies returned to the field friday, to open up a three game set with the Cincinnati Reds. The Phils handed the ball to Cliff Lee(4-2, 2.86 ERA) while the Reds countered with Tony Cingrani(0-0,3.27 ERA).
The first two innings, were pitching centered as neither team got on the board, and the Phillies didn’t even get in the hit column. But in the third inning, Jimmy Rollins backed up his talk about how the offense needed to step up and carry the team, with a two-run shot.
Cliff Lee nearly hit his third homerun in two years in the fifth, but the hit fell a bit short and Lee ended up with a stand-up double as a consolation prize. Either way not bad for a pitcher. And the fact that Michael Young was able to triple Lee in made it easier for Lee to accept just missing out on a longball.
On the mound Lee was stellar again, with the exception of allowing a two-run homerun to Jay Bruce in the sixth inning. Lee exited tonight’s game after seven innings allowing only two runs and six hits, while striking out seven.
Of course the Phillies had the dreaded eighth inning nightmare to deal with, and because Mike Adams is still day-to-day, Charlie Manuel was forced to give the ball to Antonio Bastardo, which didn’t prove to be a very good move as Joey Votto hit a tomahawk shot off of Bastardo to tie the game at three in the eighth. Justin De Fratus was able to work out of the eight inning, and give the Phillies a chance to take the lead in the bottom half of the eighth.
The Phillies didn’t get a three run homerun, or a bases clearing double in the eighth. Instead, Michael Young got on base for the fourth time tonight on a walk, Ryan Howard reached on a swinging bunt, and Delmon Young got hit by a pitch. Dom Brown then ripped a ball up the middle which Zack Cozart made a nice stop on and flipped to Brandon Phillips, who tried to barehand and fire to first but dropped the ball, which allowed the Phillies to score, and all runners to advance. As Jimmy Rollins pointed out after the game, the only way that the Reds were going to get out of the eighth was by Phillips bare-handing that ball and completing the double play. Fortunately for the Phillies, Phillips dropped the ball. The Phillies were able to tack on another run on a sack fly from Carlos Ruiz, which scored Ryan Howard. Let’s just say, the Phillies got a favorable call at the plate, because Ryan Hannigan blocked the plate, and Ryan Howard never appeared to touch home plate.
In the ninth, although he appeared to be a bit off his game tonight, Jonathan Papelbon finished off the Reds to get the Phillies a win in the series opener, and their fourth win in five games. And as an Irish Phillies fan, it was a great finish to Irish Heritage Night.
Tomorrow the Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound, looking to clinch a series win against the Reds and climb within one game of .500.
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