The first game of this Phillies – Rockies series got off to a good start thanks to some heavy hitting in the 9th. The game remained close for the first 8 innings, with Kyle Kendrick allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks through 6 of those. Kendrick struggled to get that far and has still not been able to show any consistency in his starting role after a very good game his last time out.
But Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz were not going to allow those 4 runs to ruin the day. Victorino did an amazing job in the lead-off spot, reaching base 5 out of 6 at-bats with 2 triples and 3 walks. Ruiz went 4 for 5 in the game with 2 RBI, one of which was a solo homer to give the Phillies a lead.
JC Romero pitched 1/3 of the 7th inning and tied the game up again by allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. David Herndon finished the inning, getting some help from Chase Utley who turned an amazing double play. Utley dove for the ball and tossed it to Wilson Valdez from the ground using only his glove. Valdez relayed to 1st and ended the inning.
Speaking of Valdez, this kid is really struggling at the plate. As the back-up to the back-up at short-stop, he has hit into a double play in each of the last 4 games, killing rallies everywhere he goes. In this game, he went 0-4 and is now batting .152. So, where is Juan Castro? He has been out nursing a minor calf injury and last played on May 5th, until he came in last night for defense in the 9th. I guess being put in for 1 inning last night is a good sign, but he had better be backing in hitting shape soon because Valdez is not getting it done.
So the 9th inning for the Phillies turned into a big rally to help cap off the win. Ryan Howard got hit with a pitch to start it off and the Rockies later intentionally walked Raul Ibanez. The super-hot Ruiz stepped up and whacked a single to break the 5-5 tie as Howard scored. Then to put the exclamation mark on the evening, Ross Gload nailed a pinch-hit 3-run homer to give the Phillies the 9-5 win.
Jose Contreras closed the game in the bottom of the 9th. Brad Lidge was unavailable due to soreness in his elbow…again. He just came off the DL and is already having issues in the same elbow that was surgically repaired in the off-season. This is not a good sign. Could it be a foretelling of things to come? Let us hope not.
The Phillies will send Roy Halladay to the mound tonight in game 2 of the series. Game time is 8:40pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography