The rain fell, and the first half of the game was like watching grass grow, but the Phillies finally dispatched the Astros in game one of their quick two-game series, 5-1.
SLOWLY EVOLVING OFFENSE
-Boring early, but got moving later. In the fifth inning, slap-hitting sensation Freddy Galvis knocked in a run. He brought home Placido Polanco to make it 1-0. Nice piece of hitting by the kid; he just seems to come up with timely hits. Galvis slapped another single in the sixth, this one to left field, to again knock in Polanco. The inning ended early, however, when Juan Samuel waved home John Mayberry Jr., who was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin. Bad move by Samuel, but I guess when runs are harder to come by, you take chances.
-A note on Freddy: With 25 hits on the season, he has 15 RBI. Not a bad total for hitting just .231 on the season.
-Speaking of timely hits, Carlos Ruiz has done it all year. He singled in Shane Victorino after Shane tripled to deep center field. Then in the bottom of the eighth, he smoked a single to left field and would score on a home run by Placido Polanco. #Vote4Chooch for All-Star Game.
-Speaking of Polanco, the home run was his first of the season, but more importantly, was the 2,000th of his career. Many congrats to Polly.
-Placed in the you-don’t-see-that-everyday file: Placido Polanco drawing a hard-earned walk after fouling a pitch off his foot three times in the same at-bat. One of the more painful bases-on-balls you will see. Polly would remain at first base after John Mayberry Jr. struck out swinging to end the second inning. What a crazy night for Polanco.
BLANTON BRINGS IT AGAIN
-If you want to vote for one of the unsung heroes of this Phillies club, look no further than Joe Blanton. This might be the best he’s pitched as a member of the Phillies. His line: seven-plus innings, six hits, one run (earned), one walk, seven strikeouts. Just can’t get much better.
-His one mistake was to Marwin Gonzalez, who hit his first career home run to right field to put Houston on the board. For you old-heads (and not so old-heads) Marwin was born in 1990.
-To end the top-half of the seventh inning, Blanton threw perhaps his nastiest pitch of the night. A sick slider that broke 10 inches, according to pitch f/x, that locked the legs of Astros catcher Chris Snyder.
-Isn’t this exactly what the Phils need? They continue to rely on the strength of the starting pitching. It’s working.
‘STROS LOOK HAPLESS
-Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell didn’t pitch poorly. He went 5 2/3 allowing three runs, yet his offense could do nothing for him.
-The Astros managed just seven total hits on the evening, three from Carlos Lee.
THE PEN DOES NOT LEAK
-Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, and Jonathan Papelbon cleaned it up for Joe Blanton – just how they drew it up. Things got testy in the ninth as Papelbon jawed with home plate umpire Jerry Layne, who blew three strike calls in one at-bat. Papelbon cooled off and ended the game allowing just a hard-hit single that glanced off of Polanco’s glove.
-Phillies look for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 with Cliff Lee on the mound.