The Phillies began a 3-game series tonight with the Arizona Diamondbacks who currently hold first place in the NL West. As expected, it was a very tight game between two very good teams.
With Roy Halladay coming in to the game with two extra days of rest due to a rain out and an off-day, things looked good for the Phillies. But while Halladay was solid through eight innings, he was unable to hold down a slim 2-1 lead in the ninth.
Halladay has completed so many games and held down so many leads in the past, it probably seemed right to hand him the opportunity again. But with no outs in the ninth, Halladay gave up two straight singles. Then Lyle Overbay, in only his second game with the D-Backs, smacked a bases clearing double to take a 3-2 lead. Overbay was a one-man wrecking crew, going 3-for-4 in the game with 3 RBI.
Prior to this, the Phillies had given away many opportunities on offense, which really put them into this jam. While most Phillies struggled at the plate, Halladay contributed two hits, including his first career extra-base hit with a double to right. But both times, Halladay advanced to third and was left stranded.
Chase Utley had three hits, but two of those came with two outs in the inning and all three times either Ryan Howard or Hunter Pence struck out after each of his hits. Pence left the bases loaded in the third inning for what was the Phillies best shot at breaking the game open.
In the bottom of the ninth, Carlos Ruiz walked and Michael Martinez bunted him over to start the inning for a potential comeback. But pinch hitter Ross Gload, who has not had a hit since July 28, struck out. Jimmy Rollins then struck out to end the game with a 3-2 loss.
Halladay has come through for this team too many times to be counted. It was a real shame that his teammates could not bail him out the one time he needed the help.
The Pence streak was also broken today. Previously, if Pence did not hit the Phillies did not win and vice versa. Tonight, Pence had a hit, but the Phillies did not win. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Before the game today, the Phillies unveiled the new Harry Kalas statue outside of Harry The K’s at the ballpark. The unveiling was originally scheduled for this past Sunday, but the game was rained out.
Jimmy Rollins and former Phillies ace, Steve Carlton, presided over the unveiling. The memorial sculpture was requisitioned by and paid for by Phillies fans and given as a gift to the Phillies in Harry’s honor. It features Harry holding a microphone while leaning on a baseball bat and he is wearing his 2008 World Series ring.
The statue is a testament to how loved and respected Kalas was in Philadelphia and the impact he had on many lives. While he will always be missed, this sculpture is a beautiful way to keep Harry in both our hearts and in the ballpark, right where he belongs.
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The Phillies completed a sweep of the Pirates this afternoon in 10 innings by a score of 6-5. The newest member of the Phillies, Hunter Pence, had a hand in the 10th inning rally after a rough start where he misread a ball in the outfield. Here is a quick look at the day for Pence:
The ball he missed came in the first inning, but pitcher Vance Worley bounced back quickly. It was not until the fifth and sixth innings where Worley ran into trouble.
While it was not his best outing, Worley still went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He made one bad pitch in the sixth to Lyle Overbay who slammed a 2-run homer.
But the Phillies kept plugging away at the Pirates with a few timely hits and nice defense:
Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4 with two RBI to continue his recent hot streak. But Raul Ibanez was the one player who came up big all game long. After a solo homer in the first inning, Ibanez hit a massive 2-run homer in the eighth when the Phillies were still trailing. That hit tied the game and kept hope alive for the Phillies.
As a quick side note, it appears that I may be Raul’s good luck charm. If you look at the chart below of this entire home stand, you will see that Ibanez hit .500 with three homers and nine RBI in games that I attended. When I was not there, he hit only .174, no homers, 2 RBI:
Ok, so maybe it is just a weird coincidence. On the other hand, Raul may want to hurry up and buy me a plane ticket to Denver ;o)
Back to the game: After Ibanez tied things up, the Phillies had to rely on the bullpen to keep it that way. Brad Lidge had already allowed the fifth run in the seventh, but then four other guys combined to hold down the Pirates. The photo below shows Juan Perez, David Herndon and Lidge:
Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo also pitched one scoreless inning each. Then in the 10th inning, Pence doubled to put the Phillies in position for the win. All they needed was one more big hit from Ibanez who delivered with the game winning double to score Pence.
The walk-off win capped a three hit, four RBI game for Ibanez who ended the month of July on a hot streak, batting .284 with 25 RBI.
A very tough road trip is up next for the Phillies, starting in Denver against the Rockies. They will also face the Giants in a 4-game series and the Dodgers for three games.
It all begins Monday night at 8:40pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.
And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game. Enjoy!
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography