“Harry never swung a bat or threw a pitch, or wore a uniform, but most likely, he had a more profound effect on Phillies baseball than any of us,” Michael Jack Schmidt said in a beautiful pre-game ceremony inducting Harry Kalas into the Wall of Fame.
Thanks to technology and video archives, Kalas’ own voice introduced Phillies legends as they walked onto the field. The start of Alumni Weekend brought out many former Phillies stars, but it didn’t bring out the current Phillies bats.
The Florida Marlins jumped on Joe Blanton early. Larry Bowa’s nephew, and newly acquired Marlin, Nick Johnson, homered to give the Fish a 1-0 lead. In the same inning, Raul Ibanez misplayed Dan Uggla’s double which drove in another run. An inning later, Cody Ross homered and the Marlins were up by three.
After his early struggles, Blanton settled down. Those were the only three runs he allowed in 6.2 innings. He allowed eight hits, walked one, and struck out four.
The Phillies had a perfect opportunity to score after Ryan Howard led off the second inning with a double. Ibanez singled, and Howard was waved by Sam Perlozzo. For whatever reason, Howard stopped at third even though he clearly could have scored since Hanley Ramirez bobbled the ball. Ricky Nolasco got the next two batters, Ben Francisco and Greg Dobbs. Then, he unintentionally-intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz to get to Blanton and load the bases. Nolasco escaped without damage.
Francisco, who started in place of Shane Victorino (quad), made it a ballgame again with a left field home run into the flower bed. Before he homered, Francisco threw a runner out at home plate. It wasn’t enough as the hitting woes continued. With two on and one out in the eighth, Howard struck out and Ibanez grounded out. The Phils left six men on base and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies were lucky that the bullpen kept the game close. With a runner on second in the ninth inning, Scott Eyre struck out Chris Coghlan on a wild pitch, but Ruiz failed to throw to first for the final out. It led to a bases loaded jam. Thankfully, Tyler Walker struck out Hanley Ramirez, avoiding further damage.
It took Leo Nunez five pitches to convert the save, securing the Marlins 3-2 win. It was a great night to honor the legacy of Harry Kalas, but the game did not go the way the Phillies would’ve liked.