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Eighth Inning Dooms Phils In 9-4 Loss

In heart-wrenching fashion, the Phillies dropped the second game of the four-game home set with the Mets, 9-4. It wasn’t that bad — in fact, the Phils held a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. Then the problems occured.

Not often we have to hang our heads in shame when the bullpen comes into a game, but this time we did. JC Romero and Tom Gordon together gave the Mets the win, blowing a lead for the first time in a long, long time. Sad thing is — I knew it was coming. Everyone knew it was coming. Romero isn’t very effective starting an inning, and Gordon …

Once Gordon appeared from the bullpen, a collective groan circled the stadium. Girls around me felt queasy. Gordon proceeded to uncork a wild pitch, bringing home the tying run. Then he gave up a two-run double to pinch hitter Brian Schneider. We’ve heard Gordon may be injured, and the Phils have limited his appearances because of this development. Well, now it’s time to place Gordon on the DL. He shouldn’t have been pitching in a high-pressure situation against a division rival.

It’s tougher to see Romero fail as he did; but it’s true, if Romero lets up an easy hit he starts to battle. His control wasn’t good and the Mets were patient. They hit him and they cleaned off Gordon. The setup situation is an intriguing contrast to Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson, who waxed off the Mets Friday night in easy fashion.

But Romero and Gordon weren’t the only problems. Charlie Manuel made a bad decision bringing Greg Dobbs in to pinch hit, then calling him back when left-hander Pedro Feliciano came in. Jayson Werth came out and knocked the go-ahead single, however, but Dobbs’ bat was out of the game at that point. In a crucial spot in the bottom of the eighth there was nowhere to turn but to Carlos Ruiz. A standard Ruiz groundout ended any threat the Phils had. Rudy Seanez came in from there and gave up three more runs, effectively ending the game.

The Phils got their runs with just a few hits. The biggest of all was a three-run homer by Ryan Howard, his 23rd. It tied the game after Jamie Moyer let up a couple hits for three runs. Moyer was effective in the Kendrickian start, going 6.2 innings. John Maine was better for the Mets, with the Phils only getting one hit off him (the Howard homer). Culprits abound: Jimmy Rollins (first-pitch swinging), Chase Utley (a rare 0-fer), Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste (all 0-fers). You can’t say Maine was dominant.

Associated Press photo

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