Roy Oswalt produced an excellent start, Brad Lidge worked an acceptable save, and Chooch Ruiz scalded the 5-4 game decider in the tenth. Chooch had another big performance with 3 hits in 5 at-bats and 3 RBI, while his battery mate Roy Oswalt pitched effectively into the 7th inning. It was a 14-hit attack for the offense with 3-hit nights from I-Bomb Ibanez (4 swings) plus a BB, Polly Polanco (5 passes), and J-Dub Werth provided 2 hits in 5 trips. Those four starters were 11 for 19 with a free pass in the 3-game sweep. The run is now at 12-2 with 4 straight, remaining only 2 games out of the top spot. The local nine return home for 16 games in the next 19, and the other 3 are in New York before the dreaded west-coast trip.
J-Roll Rollins lined a leadoff leftfield single, Polly stroked a right-field single, and Chris Volstad balked them up. I-Bomb drew a 3-2 free pass to juice them, but Volstad escaped a first-inning disaster. Oswalt struck out Volstad to pitch out of a two-out bases-loaded situation after a one-out no-man’s-land soft single (Cody Ross), a walk (Mike Stanton), and a second-frame pitch-around free pass to Ronnie Paulino. Chooch smoked a drive high off the leftfield billboards, but Hanley Ramirez threw him out at third after backing up the outfield carom in the fourth.
I-Bomb drilled a one-out sixth-inning single that deflected slightly off the first-base bag, Dom Brown whacked a two-out up-the-middle bulleted single, and Chooch 2-RBI doubled over the centerfielder’s head for a 2-0 lead. Wilson Valdez was intentionally passed for Oswalt, who worked a 3-2 free pass to juice them for Jimmy, but Jose Veras got the long fly out. Volstad lasted 5.2 innings on 100 bullets, allowing 8 hits and 2 both-earned runs with 3 bases on balls to 2 strikeouts. Stanton produced a leadoff leftfield single, Wes Helms waited out a 7-pitch walk, but Oswalt athletically fielded Paulino’s seventh-frame bunt to fire for the force at third. Oswalt went 6.1 total on 109 darts, scattering 3 hits and 2 both-earned runs with 4 walks to 5 K’ed.
J.C. Romero was welcomed with a one-hop above-the-yellow-line ground-rule RBI double, and Ramirez was walked intentionally to fill the sacks. Logan Morrison accepted an RBI walk, tying the seventh-frame score at 2. Big Truck Contreras was the victim of a 2-RBI fought-off right-field dunker by Gaby Sanchez for a 4-2 lead change, and he stole second before back-to-back punch outs. Danys Baez hurled the next frame, allowing 1 two-out hit.
Ramirez’s throwing error put Polly on first, Ross Gload burned a single up-the-middle, and I-Bomb RBI doubled off the leftfield wall in Leo Nunez’s save opportunity. J-Dub RBI singled past Ramirez to tie the game at 4 in the ninth. I-Bomb–who was sent on contact–was caught in a rundown off third on a bullet to first by Brown, J-Dub was picked off second on a thinking-steal play, and Brown was caught stealing on a pitch out. Mad Dog Madson hit Ramirez with a pitch, the speedster stole second on a punch out, and Dan Uggla was two-out passed intentionally before Mad Dog’s Third K. Chooch placed a homerun over the leftfield-billboard wall to greet Will Ohman for a 5-4 tenth-inning lead. Ben Francisco almost produced back-to-back homers, and a replay delay was involved on the original foul-ball call to the left of the almost-nicked foul pole.
Lidge has 12 saves in 16 opportunities (21 important games) for 19 full with a 5.68 ERA, giving up 19 hits and 12 runs (all earned) with 13 BB to 24 K‘ed. He has recorded 24 total, allowing 21 hits, 13 runs (all earned), and 14 bases on balls to 30 punch outs for a 4.88 ERA.
Upon Further Review:
The Lidge control percentage going forward from my preview-reviewed article is 7 of 9 for 77.8%. Last night he had enough control of his slider and fastball to be effective enough for a decent save.
Contreras completed the seventh, allowing 1 hit to 2 punch outs. He has 10 holds in 11 chances (31 important outings), and is 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA for 25 full, allowing 20 hits and 6 runs (all earned) with 8 walks to 26 K zones. The Big Truck has 46 appearances for 38.2 total, giving up 36 hits, 15 runs (all earned), and 12 bases on balls to 41 punch outs for a 3.49 ERA. He has 3 saves in as many opportunities with a 0.00 ERA for a scoreless 2.2 frames, scattering 3 hits and 1 BB to 6 strikeouts.
The Dandy Man:
Baez worked a scoreless eighth, allowing 1 hit. He has a 4.82 ERA in 39 outings for 37.1 innings, giving up 43 hits and 22 runs (20 earned) with 20 bases on balls to 20 punch outs. He has a 4.91 ERA for 14.2 meaningful frames with 6 holds in 8 opportunities, allowing 15 hits, 8 runs (all earned), and 8 free passes to 7 in the K zone.
Last month Blanton was 1-1 with a 5.26 ERA in 6 appearances for 37.2 frames, handing out 45 hits, 25 runs (22 earned), and 10 free passes to 35 strikeouts. In 5 June games he went 2-1 with a 6.82 ERA for 30.1 innings, surrendering 45 hits and 23 all-earned runs with 6 BB to 18 punch outs. In May’s 6 contests he was 1-4 with a 5.68 ERA for 38 total, giving up 40 hits, 26 runs (24 earned), and 10 bases on balls to 19 K zones.
Jon Niese is 7-5 with a 3.78 ERA for 112 complete in 18 appearances, allowing 120 hits and 52 runs (47 earned) with 37 walks to 86 punch outs. He is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in his only August start for 4.1 innings on 83 pitches, coughing up 7 hits, 7 runs (6 earned), and 3 free passes to 2 strikeouts. He has lasted 7 full or more in 6 of his recent 11 outings, and 7 of 18 for the year. He faced The Phillies (1-0, 1.29 ERA) at April’s end in Philly for 7 total, scattering 4 hits and 1 run (earned) with 1 BB to 7 K’ed.
Cody Ransom was DFA’ed to make room for Mike Sweeney, and will probably return to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. 1B Matt Rizzotti hit .362 with 16 HR and 61 RBI at Double-A Reading, and was promoted to Lehigh Valley.
Game 3: RHP Doc Halladay (13-8, 2.17 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (7-4, 2.36 ERA) on Sunday Afternoon