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May 10 2007

The Phillies team that fans have been waiting for and some thought we finally had hasn't materialized in the early part of the 2007 season.  Every now and then you catch a glimpse of it, though, and it's enough to remind you why you thought this team could be so good. 

After a miserable start the Phillies have a long way to go if they're going to turn around their season.  Last night they managed to turn around a game, however, and Ryan Howard needed just one swing to remind everyone of his magnificent accomplishments of a year ago. 

Two days ago Charlie Manuel let Adam Eaton hit for himself with men on first and third and Howard on the bench in a game that was tied in the seventh.  Yesterday Manuel called on Howard with the bases loaded and the Phillies down three-runs and last year's MVP delivered in a huge way.

The Phillies got another good outing from a starting pitcher.  Phils' starters have gone at least six innings in each of the last six games.

The Phillies beat the Diamondbacks 9-3 last night to improve to 15-19 on the year.  They lose the series with Arizona two games to one and head home from their ten-game road trip 4-6. 

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs.  He struck out four.

Chris Young singled to lead off the first, but Moyer struck out Stephen Drew and Orlando Hudson before Eric Byrnes grounded to third to end the inning.

Conor Jackson started the second with a single to left.  Moyer got Carlos Quentin on a fly ball to right and Chris Snyder on a foul ball caught by Rollins behind third.  Moyer picked Johnson off first and Helms threw down to second where Rollins tagged him out to end the inning. 

Alberto Callaspo doubled to start the third, the third straight inning the Diamondbacks had gotten their leadoff man aboard.  Johnson bunted him to third and a sac fly from Young scored him to put Arizona up 1-0.  Moyer struck out Drew to end the inning. 

In the fourth, Hudson homered to left to put the Snakes up 2-0.  Byrnes flew to right for the first out before Jackson walked.  Quentin popped to short and Snyder flew to right to end the inning.

Moyer got the leadoff man for the first time in the game in the fifth, getting Callaspo on a line drive to center.  Johnson and Young went down behind him.

After the first two went down in the sixth, Byrnes hit a homer to left to make it 3-0.  Second homer in two games for Byrnes, although this one lacked the distance of yesterday's.  Jackson followed with a single but Quentin flew out to left to end the inning.

Suddenly up 4-3 in the seventh, Moyer set the Diamondbacks down 1-2-3.

Myers entered the game in the eighth with the Phillies up 6-3, which would have been a really bad idea except the Phillies have an off-day today.  Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to have him go two innings and not be available for today's game.  But given that today's game doesn't exist, count me in.  Myers threw a 1-2-3 inning, getting the second out on a fly ball that Drew hit very deep in center that Rowand tracked down.

Myers stayed in to pitch the ninth with the Phillies up 9-3.  It doesn't matter that much, I suppose, but how 'bout anyone else?  9-3?  He did get a save since he entered the game in a save situation.  But still.  He struck out the first two men he faced before Quentin singled into right.  Snyder popped out to Ruiz in foul territory to end the game.

Myers threw 30 pitches on the night, 22 of which came in the ninth inning.  The Phillies did score fast and with two outs in the ninth, so there probably wasn't a lot of time to warm somebody up.  Would have tried, though.  Condrey no pitches since being called up on May 5.  Rosario's pitched twice in the last ten days.  Hernandez has made 14 pitches since being called up on May 4.  Castro has appeared in two games since being called up on April 26.  Not arguing about whether those guys are good or whether they are likely to be successful or not -- they're on the team and if you don't use them sometimes it means you use the other guys too much.  Up six runs seems like a good spot for them.  Alfonseca's been shaky his last three times out, allowing four runs in his last 3 1/3 innings.  That leaves Geary and Myers and I'd try to pitch them up six runs as little as possible.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Johnson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Rowand (4) Utley (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Nunez (8) Ruiz.  Rowand hits third against the lefty with Howard still on the bench.  Nunez plays third with Helms at first and Ruiz catching Moyer.

Johnson struck out the side in the first.

And the second.

Nunez led off the third and hit the first ball in play for the Phillies, a hopper back up the middle that went into center field for a single.  Ruiz was next and just missed a 1-1 pitch, fouling it straight back, before he flew to left for the first out of the inning.  Moyer tried to bunt and couldn't.  He struck out and it might have cost the Phillies a run because Rollins followed with a single.  Rollins' ball was hit hard and Byrnes fielded it quickly -- Nunez may not have been able to score even if he had been on second with two outs.  With runners on first and second with two down, Victorino grounded to first to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

In the fifth, Helms led off with a single but Nunez flew to right and Ruiz hit into a double-play.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

Rowand led off the seventh with the Phillies down 3-0 and got jammed but managed to fist the ball just over Drew's glove and into left field for a single.  Utley was grazed by an inside pitch and Burrell walked to load the bases with nobody out and Helms due to bat.  Arizona pulled the lefty Johnson and called on righty Brandon Medders to pitch to Helms.  Manuel pinch-hit Howard for Helms and it worked.  Howard hit the first pitch he saw out to right to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.  Nunez, Ruiz and Moyer went down in order behind Howard.

In the eighth, Victorino drew a one out walk and moved to third on a single by Rowand.  Utley was next and hit a ball to Jackson at first.  Jackson took a look at Victorino and then threw to second to try to start the double-play.  His throw was in the dirt and Drew couldn't handle it.  The ball went into left as Victorino scored and Rowand went to third.  5-3 Phillies.  Bourn, who had entered the game for Burrell in the seventh, laced a single to left-center, scoring Rowand to make it 6-3 with runners on first and third with still only one out for Howard.  First career RBI for Bourn.  Howard grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Nunez singled to lead off the ninth.   Ruiz struck out and Myers bunted Nunez to second.  Rollins smoked a ball to right for a double, scoring Nunez to put the Phils up 7-3.  Vicorino was next and he hit a ball well to right that went just out for a two-run homer.  9-3 Phils.  It was Victorino's second home run of the year, both of which have come in the last four games.  Rowand was grazed by an inside pitch before Utley flew to center to end the frame.

The Phillies scored nine runs in the last three innings after being shutout through six.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.  2-for-13 with a double in the series.  No walks in his last 65 at-bats.  301/355/582 on the year.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.  1-for-13 with a walk in the series.  He's hitting 344/382/563 in May.  281/363/383.

Rowand was 2-for-4 with two singles.  4-for-12 with a double in the series.  He's slugging .371 in May after slugging .622 in April.  360/438/552.

Utley 0-for-4 with a strikeout.  2-for-11 with a home run in the series.  289/381/548.

Burrell 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts.  0-for-10 with a walk in the series.  2-for-his-last-36 with a double.  A nutty 237/419/330 on the year.  Big hit for Bourn in his only at-bat.

Helms was 1-for-2 with a strikeout.  2-for-5 with a double in the series.  290/328/355 without a home run in 107 at-bats on the year.

Nunez had two more singles, 2-for-4 in the game.  6-for-11 with three doubles in the series.  288/339/365.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left three men on base.  1-for-8 with a double and two walks in the series.  272/322/395 in 81 at-bats on the year.  Barajas did not get an at-bat against his former team and is hitting 195/353/366 in 41 at-bats on the season.

No game today.  The Phils face the Cubs in Philadelphia tomorrow.

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