On Wednesday night, the Phillies won the game over the Mets in 2 bookend innings, the 1st and the 9th. In between, not much happened.
Jimmy Rollins led the game off with a solo home run. That turned out to be the only hit for the Phillies until John Mayberry Jr. singled in the 8th. It was also the only run of the game for the Phils until there were 2 outs in the 9th inning.
In between, Cole Hamels allowed 2 runs over 6 innings and hit the 200 strike-out mark for the season with 10 on the night. But although he pitched well, the Phillies were not hitting….at all.
Suddenly, with the game on the line, Chase Utley drew a 2-out walk in the 9th. Ryan Howard stepped to the plate for what appeared to be the probable end of the game. Howard has looked like a blind man at the plate recently.
Even Howard’s body language has spoken volumes about his struggles. Staring up at the sky in frustration is a familiar look for him after an out. But what we have witnessed in the last several weeks is different. Howard’s head droops down in defeat as he solemnly jogs to 1st base after a weak ground-out. This is beyond frustration.
But Mets pitcher Josh Edgin had the cure for what has been ailing Howard. It was an up-and-in fast ball, right in the Howard happy zone. Edgin tossed him a cookie and Howard sent it screaming into the seats. The 2-run last minute blast gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, which Jonathan Papelbon nailed down in the bottom half of the 9th.
Whether or not that home run will break Howard’s sad spell at the plate remains to be seen. But it certainly could not hurt.
The Phillies will try to sweep the Mets tonight in a make-up game that was previously rained out on Tuesday. Game time is 7:10pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography