On a night that we thought runs would be tough to come by, the Phillies offense exploded for seven runs–with six of them off Marlins Ace Josh Johnson. Now, the word “exploded” may be a hyperbole, but considering the fact that prior to Wednesday night’s game the Phillies were only averaging two runs a game, tripling that number in a single game should be worthy of the term “exploded”.
The Phils were down 1-0 until the third, when they put up–as Wheels loves to say–a crooked number with five runs in the inning. It started with a 1-out single by Juan Pierre, who went on to steal second base with the help of a missed call. Then, Placido Polanco hit a ball right up the middle that deflected off Johnson’s glove, allowing Pierre to score from second and Polanco to advance to second. Jimmy Rollins then singled in Polanco and advanced to second on a throwing error by outfielder Logan Morrison, which was followed by a RBI single by Hunter Pence, who also then advanced to second. Shane Victorino reached base on an error by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton–a play that would later be ruled a hit. After Victorino stole second, John Mayberry Jr. popped out, seemingly killing the rally that was going. The Marlins elected to intentionally walk the hot Carlos Ruiz to load the bases and get to the struggling Freddy Galvis–a move that backfired on them as Galvis slapped a double down the right field line, scoring two runs and pushing the lead to 5-1.
After a 1-2-3 inning by Halladay, the Phils struck again, this time a two-out single by Victorino that scored Rollins and ended Johnson’s night. Chad Gaudin came in and pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball before he was replaced by Ryan Webb. The second batter Webb faced was Ruiz, who took him deep to left, his first of the year.
As for Halladay, he was spectacular as usual. He finished with a line of 7.0 IP/5 H/1 R/1 ER/1 BB/3 K. After an expected rough start, he settled in and mowed down Marlins hitter after Marlins hitter. After the second inning, he only allowed three Marlins to reach base before he was pinch-hit for by Jim Thome–his first at bat in Citizens Bank Park this year–in the 7th. Some of the pitches he threw were straight filthy, even better than what we saw in Pittsburgh on Opening Day. With questions surrounding the offense, the bullpen, and even some of the starting pitching, it’s nice to know that we can again count on Roy Halladay to always bring his ‘A’ game.
Chad Qualls relieved Halladay in his first appearance of 2011, and he pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, though the three outs were all well-hit to the outfield. Michael Stutes shut the door in the ninth and the Phils finally won a game while scoring more than one run.
The Phils and Marlins play the rubber match tomorrow night at 7:05 PM.