Howard’s 3rd Slam of the Year Propels Phillies

P2241224 Howard.jpg

The Nationals pitcher Shairon Martis is going to be seeing Ryan Howard in his nightmares for a long time to come.  Howard whacked his 3rd Grand Slam of the year tonight, which was his 2nd of the year off Martis.  Travelling 475 feet to right field, the ball reached the 3rd deck of the park.  And that followed a solo homer that Howard hit in his first at bat.  Howard is on fire and demolishing record after record; with 8 salami’s in his career, he now holds the Phillies career grand slam record, passing Mike Schmidt.

Cole Hamels is grateful, because tonight, he needed all the help he could get.  Hamels went 6 innings and struggled throughout, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, one walk and one home run.  His control was off and against the last place team in the NL East, he looked a bit silly.  Could Hamels be worrying over the loss of Brett Myers?  Maybe Cole feels a great amount of pressure to perform now that the #2 pitcher is likely down for the year with hip surgery pending.  Or, maybe it was just a bad day.  We all have them sometimes.

But lucky for Hamels, the Phillies offense, most of which came from Howard, did some damage.  Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino each had 2 hits on the night and Chase Utley got hit by another pitch; the 3rd time this year he has been hit in the same foot and 11th time getting hit overall.  Utley leads the majors in getting hit by pitches.  Ouch! 

The Phillies also had 5 stolen bases tonight by 5 different players, which was a big help.  Brad Lidge came in for the save in the 9th and then the defense stepped up as well.  Rollins gobbled up a ball that was running away from him behind 2nd base; he flipped it to Utley who barehanded it and tossed to Howard for a very memorable double play.  Lidge struck out the next batter to end the game and the Phillies won, 9-6, putting them ½ game ahead of the Mets for first place :O)

Tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm, the final game of the series will kick off and the Phillies will go for the sweep.  Jamie Moyer will be going for his 250th win yet again.  Could the 6th time be the charm?  I will let you know; I’ll be there and will report back with photos!

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Photo by Jenn

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