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September 22 2007

It sure looks like JC Romero, Tom Gordon and Brett Myers will rest when the Phillies are dead.  Charlie Manuel called on the trio yet again tonight and again, unbelievably, all three came up huge.  The Phils pushed three runs across in the top of the tenth and got a 4-1 win.

Kyle Kendrick gave the Phils yet another fantastic start, but he and the rest of the Phillies' pitchers had to overcome not only an offense that wasn't putting up runs but a defense that made way too many mistakes.  The Phils made three errors on the night and the hurlers had to work hard to pitch around them.

The Phillies' bullpen has allowed two runs over the last 29 2/3 innings it has pitched. 

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals tonight, winning 4-1 in ten innings to improve to 85-70 on the season.  For the Phils it was their ninth win in the last ten games.  The Phillies are 15 games over .500 for the first time this season and more than 14 games over .500 for the first time since September 20, 2003. 

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings.  He allowed one run, which was unearned, on six hits.  All six hits went for singles.  He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Kendrick started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead.  He set the Nats down 1-2-3.

Ronnie Belliard and Robert Fick singled back-to-back with one out in the second.  It put men on first and second for Brian Schneider, but Schneider grounded to first to end the inning.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 third.

Ryan Church and Belliard singled back-to-back with two outs in the fourth.  With men on first and third, Fick flew to right to set the Nationals down.

With one out in the fifth, pitcher Tim Redding hit a fly ball to left.  Burrell went back on it and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch but the ball went off his glove for a two-base error.  Nook Logan grounded to short for the second out.  Felipe Lopez lined one into center, but Rowand made a great shoestring catch to end the inning.   Kendrick comes out of the inning even as Rowand's great play makes up for the Burrell miscue.

Ryan Zimmerman started the sixth with a single up the middle.  Kendrick struck out Kearns and got ahead of Chruch 0-2 before Church hit another ball back up the middle for a single. Belliard hit a grounder to third that looked like a double-play ball that would end the inning.  Defensive replacement Nunez fielded and threw to second for the first out, but Utley's relay to first was in the dirt and under Howard's glove.  The error on Utley allowed Zimmerman, who should have gone to third on the play, to score and tie the game at 1-1.  Utley got the error but Howard should have at least been able to stop the ball if not scoop it.

Romero started the seventh, pitching for his fifth straight day and ninth time in ten days.  Schneider led off with a bloop into center.  Rowand dove for it and missed it.  The ball got past him and Schneider wound up at third with a single.  Rowand was charged with an error, he made an awful decision to dive for that ball with nobody out.  Tony Batista hit for the pitcher and walked, putting men on first and third with nobody out.  Nook Logan lined to short for the first out.  Chrisian Guzman ran for Schneider at third.  Lopez was the next batter and he hit a soft grounder to Utley at second.  Utley didn't have a chance to tag Batista and try to start the double-play and made a fantastic decision to throw home.  Coste put the tag on Guzman, who was called out for the second out.  He was probably safe.  With men on first and second and two down, Geary came into the game and struck out Zimmerman for the third out. 

Phils get out of first and third with nobody out.  Great play by Utley and getting the call helped a lot.  Geary has a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings this month (ten appearances).

Gordon got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth.  Fifth straight day on the bump for Gordon.  Eighth time in the last nine days.  His ERA was 6.04 after he threw a scoreless inning on September 10.  After tonight's outing his ERA is 4.75.  In his last eight games he's allowed one hit in 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out nine.

Myers started the ninth with the score still knotted at 1-1.  Fifth straight day for Myers, eighth time in nine days.  Ho hum.  He set the Nats down 1-2-3.

Clay Condrey came in to pitch the tenth with a 4-1 lead.  Nook Logan was first and hit a ball softly back up the middle.  Utley fielded behind second base but didn't have a chance to get the speedy Logan, who was safe with a single.  Lopez flew to right for the first out before Logan went to second on defensive indifference.  Zimmerman grounded to second for the second out.  Kearns hit a 3-2 pitch into shallow right to end the game.

Nice job by Condrey.  The only hit he gave up was on Logan's dribbler back through the middle.

Kendrick has been fantastic often enough to make everyone forget he just turned 23 and nobody has any right to expecting him to be doing fantastic things yet.

The Nationals did not have an extra-base hit in the game. 

The Phillies' lineup against righty Tim Redding went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Coste.  Coste gets a start behind the plate.  Dobbs at third against the righty.  Manuel puts the eight best hitters he can on the field.

Utley put the Phils up 1-0 with a long home run to right with one out in the first.  Burrell followed with a single, but Howard struck out for the second out.  Rowand moved Burrell to second with a single, but Dobbs struck out to end the frame.

Werth singled to start the second.  Coste lined to second for the first out and Kendrick bunted Werth to second.  Rollins popped to second.

Utley reached on an error by Fick at first to start the third, but Burrell flew to right and Howard struck out before Rowand sent Utley to second with a single.  Dobbs struck out for the third out.  Through three innings Dobbs was 0-for-2 with three strikeouts and four men left on base.

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

With one out in the sixth, Rowand hit a ball to right-center that bounced once and cleared the fence for a ground-rule double.  Dobbs popped to the shortstop Lopez in short left field for the second out.

Rollins singled with two outs in the seventh, but Utley grounded to second for the third out.   Laforest hit for Kendrick and flew to left for the second out.

Burrell and Howard struck out to start the eighth before Rowand singled.  Nunez followed with a walk, but Werth went down swinging to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth.  Iguchi hit for Gordon and flew to center for the second out.

Utley started the tenth with a single.  Burrell was next and he walked on four pitches.  Bourn ran for Burrell at first.  Howard got behind 1-2 but smoked a single into left-center.  Utley scored to put the Phils up 2-1 and Bourn went to third.  The Nats brought their infield in and Rowand chopped a ball to third.  Zimmerman made a nice play to move to his right and throw home.  Bourn was out for the first out of the inning.  With one out and men on first and second, Victorino hit for Nunez.  That's a hugely un-Manuellike move as he's usually subbing Nunez in to a one-run game.  Victorino hit a ground ball to first, but Nats' pitcher Jesus Colome was way late to cover first and Victorino was safe without a throw.  Victorino is hobbled, but may have been safe at first even if Colome got there in time.  Something is clearly not right with Victorino, though, cause Helms ran for him at first.  Werth walked on four pitches to force in another run.  3-1 with the bases loaded and one out.  Coste struck out for the second out.  Would have been a nice to time do anything else.  Ruiz hit for Myers and lined a 1-2 pitch into left.  Rowand scored and Helms was thrown out at the plate to end the inning with the Phils up 4-1.  A healthy Victorino would have been safe by a ton.  Chris Roberson would have been safe, too.

Kudos to Manuel for hitting Victorino for Nunez.  Victorino's hit helped keep the inning moving along for the Phils.

Huge hit for Howard in the tenth.  He came into the inning 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and it didn't look good when he got behind 1-2.

Big two-out hit for Ruiz after Coste struck out with one out and the bases loaded.

Rollins was 1-for-5.

Utley was 3-for-5 with his 21st home run.  Started the tenth-inning rally.  Put the Phils up early with the first inning home run.  Made the defensive play of the game in the seventh inning.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a walk.

Howard was 1-for-5 with a huge single in the tenth.  He struck out four times.

Rowand was 4-for-5 with a double. 

Dobbs was 0-for-3, struck out twice and left five men on base.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 

Coste was 0-for-5 and left four men on base.

Cole Hamels (14-5, 3.59) faces righty Joel Hanrahan (4-3, 6.45) tomorrow in a game that starts at 12:05.  Hamels could only go three innings on Tuesday in his first start in a month.  He's gone 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in three starts against the Nationals this season.  He started against them on April 26, July 25 and August 16.  Hanrahan has made ten starts for the Nationals.  In 44 2/3 innings he's allowed nine home runs and 33 walks.  He turns 26 next month and was taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2002 draft.  He started against the Phils in the August 16 game and allowed two runs in five innings.  Carlos Ruiz hit a home run against him in that game.

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