All seemed doomed for the Phillies in the final game of their four-game series against the Houston Astros. Cole Hamels, usually reliable, had one of his worst professional starts, giving up six runs in five innings. The offense was dragging a little â€” better than the past two nights, but nothing to write home about.
Then in the sixth inning, the offense went wild.
Pat Burrell started the festivities with his 13th home run of the season. Hits followed, and RBI for Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino got the Phils a five-spot and a 9-6 lead. They weren’t done. In the seventh, Pedro Feliz, Greg Dobbs, Victorino and Chase Utley (a homer) got them a six-spot and a 15-6 blowout lead. The bullpen effectively nailed it down and left Houston with a split and a season win (4-3).
Hamels gets one or two mulligans per season as the ace â€” hopefully this was the only one. Luckily the offense picked him up, and it was as if they flipped a switch once the Astros turned to their bullpen â€” a pretty bad one. Like I wrote before, this series was one where the bullpens would decide things. Today the Phils bullpen (5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB) was spectacular while the Astros ‘pen (4 IP, 11 H, 11 ER) was awful.
It was also refreshing to see Victorino hit, and with runners in scoring position in key times. Consider yesterday’s recap his “open letter.” It was also nice to see Geoff Jenkins homer and get three hits. Feliz went 2-for-5 and is having a nice last couple games. Finally, great move by Charlie Manuel not to go to Dobbs in the sixth inning with a lefty ready to come in. Dobbs instead came in against right-handed Dave Borkowski and laced a two-run triple.
Associated Press photo