When Jonathan Papelbon threw Chad Tracy his third straight fastball inside, you knew he was playing with fire. When Tracy deposited the 0-2 pitch just inside the pole in the right-filed seats, you could hear a “here we go again” groan echo throughout the park.
But luckily, everybody quickly forgot about Papelbon blowing his first save of the season just a few minutes later, when Domonic Brown blooped a base hit into center field to score Ben Revere and giving the Phils a walk-off 5-4 win.
The win provided a much needed spark for the Phillies, who were coming off a 3-7 road trip and trailed the Nationals by a game for second place in the N.L. East entering play today.
Revere sets the table for win, continues torrid pace
Two weeks ago praise might have been hard to come by for Ben Revere. On June 8 he had his lowest batting average (.243) that he had since mid May, his defense was suspect, and he just looked lost at the plate. Oh, how things have changed. In his last eight games, Revere has raised his average 31 points. In mid June. Revere has been exactly what Revere was expected to be before the season started. He has hit safely in each of those eight games, while batting an incredible .432 over that span.
In the ninth inning on Monday, he was able to work a base hit off a tough lefty in Fernando Abad, went first to third on a hit-and-run and later scored the winning run. With Revere hitting like this at the top of the lineup he is giving a surging Michael Young and Ryan Howard prime chances to drive in runs.
Is Howard on his way back?
With one mighty swing, Howard broke a long homerless drought in the second inning, clubbing a solo shot into the second deck in right field to tie the game. Howard had not hit a home run since May 29, but he worked an 0-2 count to 2-2 before depositing the seventh pitch of the at bat in the seats.
Like Revere, on June 8 Howard was struggling bad, hitting just .250. Since then he has gone 13-for-33 (.394) with a home run, two doubles and six RBI. His average is all the way up to a very respectable .274.
Lannan strong in return
The southpaw went five innings, scattering six hits and allowing just two runs in his first start since coming off the disabled list. He walked just one and struck out four, and seemed like he was able to command all of his pitches as he kept the Nationals hitters off balance through his outing.
The Phillies will send ace Cliff Lee (8-2, 2.55) to the mound Tuesday to try to jump out to a quick series win. He will be opposed by fellow lefty Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02), who is 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.