For the second consecutive night, a Phillies player just missed the cycle as Ryan Howard went 4-4 in a Phillies 7-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies had sixteen hits with every starter having at least one hit except Raul Ibanez. Cliff Lee struck out eleven, gave up four runs in seven and 2/3 innings and picked up his first win in the month of July. James McDonald took the loss for the Pirates, giving up ten hits and five runs in his five innings of work. Neil Walker had three hits and a RBI for the Pirates while his teammate Pedro Alvarez hit his first home run since coming off the DL. Down 6-2 heading into the eight inning, the Pirates made it interesting, by cutting the deficit to two. However, Antonio Bastardo struck Pedro Alvarez to end the inning and Ryan Madson struck out the side in the ninth inning to pick up his eighteen save of the season. The Phillies and Pirates wrap up the season series tomorrow with Vance Worley taking on Jeff Karstens.
Ryan Howard hit an absolutely moon shot of a home run to center that traveled an estimated 420 feet to lead off the second inning. The Phils tacked on two in the next inning as Jimmy Rollins hit a solo home run and few batters later, Howard doubled in Shane Victorino with one out. The Pirates got on the board in the next half inning when Pedro Alvarez hit a two run home run off of Cliff Lee, making it 3-2. In the bottom half of the fourth inning a misplay by Pirates right fielder Steven Pearce on a Chase Utley single allowed Cliff Lee to score. The next batter, Ryan Howard singled scoring Jimmy Rollins and all the sudden, Howard was a triple shy of the cycle in the fourth inning. With the Phillies up 6-2 in the 8th inning, the Pirates put the first two runners on against Cliff Lee. After an Andrew McCutchen fielder’s choice, Neil Walker’s RBI single made it 6-3. After another fielder’s choice, Brandon Wood singled to score McCutchen and that was all for Lee. Antonio Bastardo replaced Lee and struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the threat. The Phillies added an insurance run in their half of the eight when Hunter Pence had his first Phillies hit and RBI. Ryan Madson closed the door in the ninth, giving the Phillies their 67th win of the year and their tenth series win in the last eleven.
-Hunter Pence went 1-5 with an RBI. He was robbed of a hit in the second inning when first base umpire Angel Hernandez called him out when in fact he beat the throw to first.
-Let me get this out-of-the-way now…I hated/despised Hunter Pence as an Astro.
– In the eighth inning, the Pirates walked Ryan Howard intentionally to bring up a first and third with one out situation for Hunter Pence. Prior to the Pence trade, Raul Ibanez and his .237 batting average would have come up in. That usually meant an infield pop up, strikeout, or a double play. However this time, Pence laced a ball to center scoring an additional insurance run.
– Lee probably should have been pulled after seven, but I have no problem with Charlie’s decision to let Lee start the eight inning.
– While I disagree with the decision of sending Dom Brown down, I did like how he started in left field for the Iron Pigs tonight. (1-3 with 2 walks)
-I like to see the Phillies add a bullpen arm, but I’m not banking on it.
-Hell of a play by Rollins to save a run in the first inning.
– Ruben Amaro was in the TV booth during the game and said he knows there are GMs smarter than him. Does anyone really think he believes that?