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June 4 2007

After being blown out in the first of their four-game set with the Giants, the Phillies sprang to life in games two and three of the series.  Cole Hamels stole the show with a brilliant start in game two.  Down 7-3 in the seventh yesterday, the Phils scored five runs to pull ahead but needed a walkoff home run from Shane Victorino to get out with a 9-8 win.

If you've read about the Phils using righty Ryan Madson as their second lefty out of the pen because of his good numbers against left-handed hitters, you saw it hurt the Phils for the first time yesterday.  In a one-run game, Manuel let Madson hit for himself with two outs and a runner in scoring position so he could come in and face the switch-hitter and two lefties due to hit in the top of the ninth. 

The pitching remains the story for the Phillies.  The starting pitching, which some argued was the best in the division or even among the best in the National League before the year started, has thrown to a 4.68 ERA, third-worst in the NL.  Sometimes is costs them and sometimes it doesn't, but the Phillies' bullpen is awful every day.  If there are some people surprised about the starting pitching, nobody is surprised about the pen.

The Phils beat the Giants 5-2 on Saturday and 9-8 yesterday to hit the .500 mark once again at 28-28.  They are in third place in the NL East, four games behind the Braves and 7 1/2 behind the Mets. 

Freddy Garcia got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and two walks.  Only six of the runs were earned thanks to one of the more unusual throws you're likely to see .  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs.  He struck out five.  He's a lock for most incredulous look for a pitcher when being pulled after allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings having just given away the lead.

Randy Winn hit the second pitch of the game out to left to put the Giants up 1-0.  Garcia set down the next three.

Bengie Molina led off the second with a home run that made the score 2-0.  With one out, Pedro Feliz singled but Rowand threw him out trying to stretch it into a double.  Omar Vizquel flew to center to end the frame.

After a 1-2-3 third, Ryan Klesko started the fourth with a walk.  Ray Durham followed and hit into double-play before Molina singled to center, his second hit of the day.  Mark Sweeney grounded out to Garcia to set the Giants down.

With the Phils up 3-2 in the fifth, Vizquel singled with one out and pitcher Tim Lincecum bunted him to second.  Winn, who had already homered, walked on what may have been a pitch-around, moving Vizquel to third.  Fred Lewis was next and he singled to left.  Vizquel was held at third, but that was until they saw the throw from Burrell.  Burrell lost the handle and it went about 15 feet.  He was charged with an error, Vizquel scored, Winn went to third and Lewis to second with the game tied at 3-3 and two down.  Klesko singled to center, scoring both runners and putting San Francisco up 5-3.  Garcia struck out Durham to end the frame.

Molina started the sixth with a double and moved to third on a single by Sweeney.  Garcia got Feliz to pop to Ruiz in foul territory for the first out and, with switch-hitter Vizquel up, Zagurski replaced Garcia to that Vizquel would hit right-handed.  Vizquel singled.  Molina scored and Sweeney went to second with the Giants up 6-3.  Lincecum bunted, moving the runners to second and third with two down.  Winn was walked intentionally to load the bases.  With Lewis at the plate a wild pitch from Zagurski scored Sweeney and moved Vizquel to third and Winn to second.  7-3.  Lewis grounded to short to end the inning.

Zagurski started the seventh and struck out Ryan Klesko for the first out of the frame.  Geary replaced him with Durham at the plate, and Geary walked Durham.  Kevin Frandsen ran for Durham at first and was caught stealing second as Geary struck out Molina, ending the inning.

Geary started the eighth with an 8-7 lead and got the first two before Vizquel walked.  Barry Bonds hit for pitcher Jack Taschner and the Phillies, having used their lefty in the pen, called on Madson to pitch to Bonds.  The Phils apparently think they can use Madson like a lefty out of the pen cause his numbers against lefties are good this year.  That seems unlikely to work for long.  Lefties are hitting just .194 against Madson this season, but hit .306 against him last year, .292 against him in 2005 and have hit .283 against him over his career.  Bonds grounded to short.

After hitting for himself in the eighth with a runner in scoring position in a one-run game, Madson started the ninth.  No doubt this is more thinking that Madson is the Phillies' second lefty with a switch-hitter Winn and two lefties due to follow in the ninth, but that's cuckoo for Coco Puffs.  Madson got Winn on a ground out to second and then walked Lewis and walked Klesko.  Alfonseca replaced Madson with the righty Frandsen at the plate and Frandsen singled into left past a diving Rollins.  Lewis scored from second to tie the game at 8-8 with Klesko going to second.  Alfonseca got Molina to hit into a double-play to Nunez at third to end the frame.

That Madson as a second lefty in the pen thing is really preposterous.  Someone could get hurt.  How 'bout just getting a second lefty in the pen?  Or a first lefty in the pen for that matter.  Zagurski's ERA is at 6.23 after four appearances after Smith and Castro have already been bombed this season.  Lefties are on-basing .354 against Madson this season.

The Phillies' lineup against righty Tim Lincecum went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Dobbs (7) Rowand (8) Ruiz.  Dobbs looks to be the guy at third against righties, at least for the time being.  Okay by me. 

With two outs in the first, Utley hit a double to center that nearly left the yard.  Howard was walked intentionally and Burrell grounded to third to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second and third.  

Utley homered to start the fourth, cutting the Giants' lead to 2-1.  Burrell singled to center with one out, but Dobbs followed and popped to Klesko in foul territory for the second out.  Rowand followed and homered to center, putting the Phils up 3-2.  Eighth homer of the year for Rowand, but just his third since April 27.  Ruiz struck out but got first when the ball got away from Molina.  Garcia struck out to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth.

They started the seventh down 7-3.  Rowand singled and Ruiz doubled him to third.  Helms, who had entered with Geary in the top of the inning, came up with a big hit, a double to left that scored both runs and made it 7-5.  Rollins struck out and Victorino moved Helms to third with a fly out to center.  Utley walked and Howard smoked the ball out to center, putting the Phils up 8-7.  Molina should win reaction of the year, punching the air in disgust knowing the ball was gone long before it left the yard.  He started his gesture almost immediately after contact was made -- I think he knew it was going to go out before Howard did.  Burrell flew to left to end the inning.

Rowand singled with one out in the eighth and the Phils up 8-7.  Ruiz grounded out, moving Rowand to second.  And Madson hit for himself.  Really he did.  In a one run game.  That there is a bad decision if he hits a two-run homer and then comes back and throws a 1-2-3 ninth.  Madson struck out swinging (and he walked two of the three men he faced in the ninth before he was yanked).

The Giants tied the game at 8-8 in the top of the ninth.  Rollins struck out for the first out in the bottom of the inning.  Victorino got ahead 1-0 and hit the ball just out the opposite way to left to win the game. 

Rollins was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts on the game.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with a walkoff home run.

Utley was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run.

Howard 1-for-3 with a three-run homer.

Burrell was 1-for-4.

Dobbs 0-for-3.

Rowand 3-for-4 with a two-run shot.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a double. 

On Saturday the Phillies beat the Giants 5-2 behind a brilliant outing by Cole Hamels.

Hamels threw a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and no walks.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a walk.  He struck out five and needed just 98 pitches, a tremendous performance for Hamels who has thrown a lot of pitches on the year.  When his changeup is on, hitters know they're going to have a tough time against Hamels if they get behind in the count.  The Braves let it be known earlier this season they were going to go after Hamels early -- if Hamels can get outs early in the count he's going to be able to go far longer in games.

With one out in the first, Kevin Frandsen homered to left to put the Giants up 1-0.  Hamels got Aurilla for the second out before Bonds singled, but Durham flew to center to end the inning.

He threw a 1-2-3 second, third and fourth.

Feliz singled with one out in the fifth.  Dan Ortmeier and Noah Lowry grounded out behind him to end the frame.

After a 1-2-3 sixth, Bonds led off the seventh with a double to center and moved to third on a Durham ground out to short.  Molina hit a sac fly to right that scored Bonds and cut the Phils' lead to 4-2.  Feliz flew to left to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 eighth, Hamels started the ninth with the Phils up 5-2.  Kevin Frandsen led off with a double down the line in left.  Aurilla followed and popped one into shallow left behind short.  Bourn broke back in the ball, then came in and made a diving catch for the first out of the inning.  Burrell never would have gotten to the ball.  It shouldn't have taken a nice diving play to get the get, but Bourn broke back and only his outstanding speed allowed him to recover.  It was a huge play that prevented Bonds from coming to the plate as the tying run.  Hamels struck Bonds out for the second out and got Durham on a fly ball to center to end the game.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty Noah Lowry went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Rowand (7) Nunez (8) Barajas.  Nice to see Werth in right against the lefty.  Nunez plays third with Helms on the bench even against the southpaw.

The Phils first runner of the game came on a two-out single by Rowand in the second.  Nunez followed and grounded to third to end the inning with the Phils down 1-0.

Barajas walked to start the third, but they forced him at second on Hamels' bunt and Rollins grounded into a double-play.

Werth reached on an infield single to start the fourth and Utley doubled him to third.  Howard hit a fly ball to left that Bonds dropped at the warning track.  It scored Werth, moved Utley to third and tied the game at 1-1 with Howard safe at second.  Burrell flew to right and Utley scored.  Bad base running by Howard kept him at second with the Phils up 2-1.  Rowand flew out to center and Nunez grounded to second to end the inning.

Barajas was hit by a pitch to start the fifth and Hamels bunted him to second.  Rollins tripled to the gap in right-center and the Phils led 3-1 as Barajas scored.  Werth hit a sac fly to right for the second out as Rollins scored from third to increase the lead to 4-1.  Utley flew to center to end the inning.

Howard walked to start the sixth, but Burrell, Rowand and Nunez went down behind him.

Hamels hit for himself and singled with one out in the seventh.  Rollins flew to left and Werth to right to end the inning.

Utley started the eighth with a walk and Howard blasted a double to center that scored Utley and put the Phils up 5-2.  Burrell, Rowand and Nunez went in order to set the Phils down.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.

Werth 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Utley 1-for-3 with a double.

Howard 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and two RBI.

Burrell 0-for-3 with an RBI.

Rowand 1-for-4.

Nunez 0-for-4.

Barajas 0-for-1 with a walk. 

Jon Lieber (2-3, 3.86) faces lefty Barry Zito (5-5, 4.21) this afternoon.  Lieber started against the Giants on May 5 and took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits over six innings.  Bonds homered off of him in the second inning.  Over their careers, Bonds and Klesko have hit nine home runs off of Lieber in 81 combined at-bats.  Four for Bonds and five for Klesko.  Lieber was pounded his last time out, giving up 13 hits in 6 2/3 innings to the Snakes.  Lefties are hitting .315 against him on the season.  Zito is 2-0 in his last two starts and has been charged with one run in his last 14 innings.  Opponents are hitting .234 against him, but he's walked 31 in 68 1/3 innings.  He's been better against righties than lefties, righties are hitting .207 against him and lefties .313.

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