It has been a long while since Phillies fans have been able to shout, “RAUUUUUUUL!” with any real gusto. Raul Ibanez is hitting just .239 with a .287 on-base percentage this year. But Philly still loves Ibanez, and last night, he gave them extra reason to cheer.
After a two-hour rain delay, multiple roll-outs of the tarp on the field and double warm-ups for both starting pitchers, the Phillies – Braves series finally got under way.
So it took almost five hours total, 10 innings and one Ibanez walk-off homer for the Phils to defeat the Braves. Roy Halladay battled Brave Brandon Beachy (say that three times fast) on the mound. The battle ended up in a draw as both pitchers allowed two runs and left with a tie game.
It was then up to the bullpens, where it seemed the Braves had the advantage. But Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Juan Perez combined for three scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game.
In fact, Perez, a newcomer to the Phils, accomplished a feat that has not been done in 20 years of Phillies history. He struck out the side in the 10th on exactly nine pitches, the bare minimum; nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs.
Ibanez rewarded Perez by smashing the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 10th. The 32-year old lefty earned his first major league win thanks to Ibanez and the nine-pitch inning he tossed.
So the Phillies 3-2 win puts them in a great position for the rest of the weekend. I will be at both games Saturday and Sunday and return with photos and, hopefully, two more wins.
Game time today is 4:10pm and Cliff Lee will pitch.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography