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Late Homers Put Phils Back In Win Column

Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz slammed eighth-inning home runs to propel the Phillies past the Cardinals, 4-2. The Phils remain 1.5-games up in the NL East with their first win in their last five games. Howard’s was his 25th homer, tying teammate Chase Utley for the league lead. Feliz hit his 10th, and is hitting .266 on the season.

The homers gave the win to Clay Condrey, who was brought in to pitch a high-pressure eighth and struck out the side. Surprising? With JC Romero feeling hurt, Tom Gordon on the DL, Rudy Seanez ailing and Chad Durbin used, Condrey became the option. Obviously this is a situation that the Phillies better address. The bullpen is crawling to the All-Star break; they’ll need reinforcements.

And though Condrey got the win, accolades must be given to JA Happ, who looked even better than his 2008 debut, pitching into the seventh inning. He gave up two runs on five hits and four walks, striking out five. Like against the Mets, Happ pitched the fastball very inside and very outside, took it upstairs to make a few outs, and implemented his nice slider and changeup when he felt necessary.

The Phils grabbed a 2-0 lead with a Carlos Ruiz single, Jimmy Rollins RBI double and Ryan Howard single in the fifth inning. Happ pitched a breezy sixth, but got into trouble in the seventh. With one out and men at second and third Chad Durbin was brought in. He gave up an RBI sac fly and tough flailing RBI single by Ryan Ludwick for the tie, before finally getting the last out on a strikeout. It’s a shame Happ couldn’t get the win, but you can’t blame the ‘pen.

Brad Lidge wasn’t in top form, but recorded his 20th save in as many chances. Among the outs — a fly out from Albert Pujols, the man who yadda, yadda, yadda.

Associated Press photo

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