10-6 wins really ought not to be this dramatic.
On the offensive side, the Phillies buzzed through Milwaukee this afternoon like John Rambo blowing through rural Washington State, leaving a trail of severed arms and heads in their wake. Led by Placido Polanco’s 4-for-6, Philadelphia put 10 runs on the board on a season-high 17 hits. Five of those runs came in the 7th inning, where the Phillies strung together six consecutive hits, including hits by Exxon Wilson Valdez, Paul Hoover, and Joe Blanton.
Hoover continued his strong run, raising his average to .400 on the season by going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. Blanton managed to pick up his first win of the campaign, needing only 104 pitches (70 of them strikes) to go 7 innings. Blanton only needed 43 pitches to get through the first four innings, allowing only one hit.
From a pitching standpoint, that’s where everything went to hell in a handbasket.
Blanton gave up five earned runs in his last three innings on the mound, but after a relatively quiet inning of relief from Chad Durbin, it seemed like we’d all get out of here with a minimum of drama. I feel like, as Phillies fans, we ought to know better by now.
David Herndon came in to start the 9th inning, and in the blink of an eye, the Brewers had scored a run and had two more men in scoring position. Jose Contreras, who is quickly turning into the only reliever Charlie Manuel can trust, came in, and after walking pinch hitter George Kottaras to load the bases, brought the tying run into the plate. Contreras then struck out Rickie Weeks and Craig Counsell to end the game, and the entire city of Philadelphia was able to exhale.
In other notes, Brewers manager Ken Macha wins the Dusty Baker Award for pitcher abuse today, leaving lefty Chris Narveson in the game for 130 pitches. Narveson only lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs. It’s one thing to let a pitcher throw 130 pitches if he’s on the verge of a no-hitter, but if he’s over 110 pitches in the sixth inning and he’s already given up four runs, it’s time to pull the plug.
Shane Victorino also had a big day, driving in four runs and going 3-for-6, falling a triple short of the cycle. Victorino’s home run, his 8th on the season, moved him one behind Chase Utley for the team lead. Pineapple Express also extended his team-leading RBI total to 32.
Philadelphia goes for the sweep tomorrow afternoon behind Cole Hamels.