Raul Ibanez, Mike’s favorite player of all time, had three hits including two home runs and a walk off double in the tenth inning as the Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5. With the win, the Phillies moved to 68-39 and gained a game in the division over the Atlanta Braves. It was the fifth series sweep on the season and punctuated the Phillies’ tenth series win in their last eleven. The Phillies fought back twice, being down 2-1 and then 5-3, before winning in extras. Antonio Bastardo picked up the win while Pirates reliever Tony Watson took the loss. With today being the Major League trading deadline, the Phillies did not make additional moves before 4 PM. The Pirates, who added Derrek Lee last night, picked up Ryan Ludwick for the stretch run. The 54-52 Pirates, now 4.5 games back in the NL Central, go home to take on the dreadful Chicago Cubs. The Phillies head to Colorado to begin a ten game west coast trip starting tomorrow.
The Phillies got the scoring started in the second inning when Raul started his home run binge with a solo shot to center. The Pirates however, took the lead on a Xavier Paul two run single in the fifth inning. The Phils came back in the bottom half of the inning as Jimmy Rollins came up big with a two run single to retake the lead. That was short-lived as the following half inning, Lyle Overbay hit a two out, two run home run to make it 4-3 Pirates. It was the first time Phillies starter Vance Worley gave up more than two runs since his disastrous start against the Mets in Citi Field. Worley finished six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, taking a no-decision. The Pirates added an insurance run in the seventh inning off of Brad Lidge when Garrett Jones doubled home Eric Fryer with two out. Obviously Jones was upset with my post on Friday calling him a terrible outfielder. Pirates reliever Joe Beimel started the eighth inning after starter Jeff Karstens went seven strong innings, giving up three runs and leaving with a lead. Beimel, the lefty did half his job when he got out Utley, but allowed Ryan Howard to reach base. Jose Veras replaced Beimel and got the first batter he faced, Hunter Pence to ground into a fielder’s choice. However his next batter, Raul Ibanez, took him deep to left center (Oppo Bobbo as one great announcer use to say) tying the game at 5. In the tenth inning, Hunter Pence doubled with one out. With a tough lefty Tony Watson on the mound, Raul came up and ripped a pitch to right, allowing Pence to score and making the plane ride to Colorado a pleasant one.
– Interesting year for Raul Ibanez. He was terrible in April and June, great in May and July. I guess this means he’s going to be good for September right?
– Ibanez had 7 home runs and 25 RBIs this month.
– His future replacement, Dom Brown went 1-2 for the Iron Pigs tonight. His hitting streak for them is up to 20, a franchise high.
– It was kind of funny Lyle Overbay went deep today because Derrek Lee will zap any playing time Overbay has for the rest of the year.
-No moves for the Phillies today. I can see the Phillies picking up a bullpen arm for the August waivers, wouldn’t mind a bat off the bench either.
– The Phillies are 41-18 at home. Absolutely incredible.
– What’s a realistic record on the road trip? 6-4? 6-4 is probably the most likely scenario, but I’ll go out on a limb and say 7-3. (2 out of three from the Rockies, split with the Giants, and sweep the Dodgers)
– It took until game 151 for last year’s team to get to 29 games over .500.