The Phillies had not lost a series since July 26-28 coming into this 3-game series with the Nationals. But three blown saves in two of three games would change that.
Roy Halladay’s outing was cut short after five innings of work due to yet another rain delay. It was the third game in the last four that involved a weather stoppage. Before the storm, Halladay had a rough first inning, allowing two runs.
After that, he seemed to settle in, but it did not matter. Here comes the rain again…
After a pretty spectacular display of lightening and a downpour, the game resumed 1 hour and 11 minutes later.
The delay turned into an opportunity for rookie Michael Schwimer who made his major league debut in this game. But two pitches into the game with a 3-2 lead, Schwimer tossed a rookie cookie to Danny Espinosa who sent the ball out of the park to tie the game. That was blown save #1.
Schwimer did extremely well though after the rookie blunder and went three innings with just the one run and two hits allowed.
The offense, which had two home runs early in the game from Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley, had a rough 2nd part to the game. But in the ninth inning when it mattered, Michael Martinez came through against the team that dumped him into the Rule 5 draft with an RBI-single.
The Phillies had the lead again, but not for long. In the bottom of the ninth, closer Antonio Bastardo looked unstoppable. He mowed down the first two Nats quickly and then had a 1-2 count on Ian Desmond. Yes, he was ONE strike away from what looked like an easy save.
The Phillies fans were on their feet in anticipation of the win. But Desmond ruined the day, tying the game up at 4-4 with a home run to left. And just like that, all the air went out of the balloon again. It was blown save #2 on the night and #3 in three games.
The Phillies did not score in extra innings and Brad Lidge was sent in to pitch the 10th. And like a bad case of deja vu, Lidge imploded once again. Without recording a single out, Lidge loaded the bases. He did strike out one batter after that, but to no avail. Because Jonny Gomes and his magical mohawk stepped to the plate and Lidge pelted him with a pitch to walk home the winning run.
This loss was about as ugly as they come. And losing two out of three to the Nats is a tough pill to swallow. The only possible good news is that the Mets come to town tomorrow.
The bad news, besides the loss, is that Jimmy Rollins was pulled from the game early with a strained groin. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Here is the entire play which it is believed did the damage:
As for my game photos, here is the full Photo Album which includes shots from inside the Diamond Club at Nationals Park.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography