(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Phillies have been struggling to score runs lately. They changed that this afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. Joe Blanton was solid in seven innings of work. He gave up three runs on only five hits. It was a quality outing for Blanton. He threw a good amount of innings and gave the Phillies a chance to win.
Blanton started off very strong. He didn’t give up a hit until the 5th inning. The Cubs got to him in the 5th inning. Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff double and he was driven in by Starlin Castro. This tied the game up at one. However in the very next inning, Jimmy Rollins hit a three home run home run off Ryan Dempster while facing a 3-0 count. Dempster surely wished he could have that pitch back.
In the 7th inning, the Cubs came right back to get two runs. Derrek Lee hit a leadoff home run off Blanton. Later in the inning, Tyler Colvin hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-3 game. The Phillies took the 4-3 lead into the 8th inning. Charlie Manuel decided to bring lefty Antonio Bastardo to face Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome hit a solo home run to right field to tie up the game. The Phillies are really trying to find out if Bastardo can be trusted in big situations.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Phillies had runners at 1st and 2nd with one out. Raul Ibanez had been struggling to hit left-handed pitching prior to this at-bat. Well he didn’t struggle this time. Ibanez singled to right field and Chase Utley came around to score the go-ahead run. The Phillies took a 5-4 lead into the 9th inning.
Jose Contreras came in to pitch the 9th inning. He allowed the first two runners to reach base with no outs. There were runners at 1st and 3rd with no outs. Contreras battled and got out of the inning. He got help from Aramis Ramirez who chased a 3-2 pitch outside for a key strikeout. Ryan Howard caught a pop fly in foul territory to get the win.
The Phillies start a three game series against the Boston Red Sox on Friday at 7:05. Cole Hamels will be opposed by John Lackey in the first game.