For the second straight night, manager Charlie Manuel decided it best to rest some key players in the lineup, despite still being in the hunt for home-field advantage. For the second straight night, the Phillies starting pitcher allowed two first inning runs. And for the second straight night, the Phillies took a loss, as they head into the final week of regular season baseball.
The Marlins came into Philadelphia, having just helped to spoil the Braves chances at postseason glory and were looking to rain on the Phillies parade as well. The Fish set the tone early, as they scored two in the first and then two in the second, on their way to beating the Phillies by a final of 7-2.
Mustering 14 hits for the night, nine off of starter Joe Blanton, the Marlins solidly beat the Phillies in the series opener. After allowing four runs in the first two innings, Blanton, settled down, pitching six innings total and keeping it a close game. He finshed, allowing five earned runs in his shakiest start since early in the season.
The Marlins would score two more off of the much taxed Phillies bullpen, which received news earlier in the day that reliever J.C. Romero would be lost for the season.
The Phillies offense, meanwhile, managed just two runs off of Marlins starter Rick VandenHurk. Both runs came in the first inning off of the bat of Ryan Howard, who hit his 44th home run of the season. The two runs batted in gave Howard 140 for the season. The Phillies hit the ball hard throughout the game, but couldn’t come up with the timely hitting needed to keep pace with the Fish.
With the loss, the Phillies dropped to a game and a half behind the Dodgers. The Phillies can maintain a one game lead over the Cardinals in the battle for the number two seed if the Brewers can hang on to win their match-up.