Tuesday nights series opener between the Padres and the Phillies featured two kinds of pitchers. One, a 42 year old right-handed finesse pitcher, trying to defy age in Jamie Moyeresque style and attempting to obtain his 350th win for the second time this season. The other, a 24 year old left handed changeup pitcher who relies on change of speeds and pitch location to strike out batters. The question would be which offense could strike often enough to win the battle.
Fortunately for Hamels, the Phils brought just enough offense. They struck early, after a walk to Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard came through with a clutch two out hit for the RBI and the early lead. Then again in the third, with one out, Jason Werth tripled off a ball to right field, followed by Bruntlett whose bat has been coming along lately and managed to muscle a ground ball the opposite way allowing Werth to score.
It wasn't until the 5th that the Padres finally managed to get on the board when with two outs, Scott Hairston hit one out on a fly ball to left field bringing the score to 2-1. Maddux pitched well, keeping holding the Philllies lineup to 2 runs, a lineup that is averaging 7 runs a game in the early season. The seventh inning became to much for Maddux, both physically and emotionally. After allowing a one out single to Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels managed to muscle a hit allowing Ruiz to reach third. Maddux was obviously upset allowing a hit to the opposing pitcher, and was pulled from the game for Cla Meredith. The Phils managed to tack on another run with a sac-fly by Jason Werth extending the lead to 3-1.
The eighth proved to be the end of Hamels night. After a leadoff double to Hairston, and a close play at third by Chase Utley that allowed Hairston to move to third,and a walk to Tony Clark Hamels was taken out of the game and replaced with JC Romero. Romero walked Brian Giles loading the bases and was immediately yanked for Tom Gordon. Gordon managed to invoke a ground ball from Tadahito Iguchi, but only managed one out from the play that allowed a run to score. Gordon got Kevin Kouzmanoff to ground out as well ending the inning and the Padres rally.
The Phils had a rally of their own, tacking on four runs in the bottom of the eighth to pad the lead for the bullpen. After a leadoff double by Utley, two batters later, Burrell was intentionally walked, and after a fly out by Shane Victorino, the two out rally began. Pedro Feliz hit a ground ball through the hole to right allowing Utley to score and move Taguchi, who came in to run for Burrell, to third. Feliz advanced to second on the throw home to try to get Utley. Carlos Ruiz doubled to right-center and both Taguchi and Feliz came home, immediately followed by Gregg Dobbs who hit a double of his own bringing home Ruiz and extending the lead to 7-2.
The Padres managed to get two back in the top of the ninth off a two run homerun by Scott Hairston, but Ryan Madson held on to keep the lead and secure the Phils first winning April in 5 years.
As though of you know, who check out my blog, I am tracking our beloved managers record throughout the season to determine just how many games Uncle Charlie blows for us. He is currently 0-2. Charlie though will get this win tonight for sticking with the hot bat in Jason Werth and for his offensive substitutions that seem to continue to work out. Keep up the good work Charlie, maybe we shouldn't get you fired after all.