Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Offense Explodes In Arizona

The Philadelphia Phillies set out on Monday night to take on the league leading Arizona Diamondbacks. The D'backs have the best record in baseball so far with a 21-10 record after a tough loss on an error in the 9th to lose to the Mets. Eerily similar to how the Phils managed to sneak away with a win on Sunday as well against the Giants.

The Phils sent Jamie Moyer to the mound who has been consistent through the first month of the season but has struggled to get run support and has limited his ability to last past the sixth inning. Arizona on the other hand sent 24 year old Max Scherzer to the mound who had his first start of his career.

The Phillies offense started early and kept the heat on, scoring a run in the first inning after a lead off double by Shane Victorino who latered scored on a sac-fly by the struggling Ryan Howard. The Diamondbacks got it back quick though scoring a run off an RBI triple by Stephen Drew in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1.

Unfortunately for Scherzer, the Phils brought their bats to Arizona and they opened the game up in the top of the third. Chase Utley doubled with one out, followed by a walk by Ryan Howard and the two out rally began after Pat Burrell struck out swinging. Geoff Jenkins singled to center bringing home Utley to take the lead. Howard moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and was later brought home when Pedro Feliz reached on a fielding error by Stephen Drew. Jenkins scored the teams fourth run on a single to center by Carlos Ruiz, and Jamie Moyer helped himself with a line drive double to left scoring Feliz and making the score 5-1.

That would conclude Max Scherzer's outing for the night and Arizona brought in Edgar Gonzalez to stop the bleeding. Gonzalez managed to keep the Phils off the board for three straight innings, but in the top of the seventh the Phils got back to work. Geoff Jenkins lead off with a single, and two batters later Ruiz singled to right and Jenkins advanced to third. Jamie Moyer laiddown a sac-bunt to move Ruiz to second and the Phils second two out rally of the night was on.

Gonzalez intentionally walked Victorino to get a better matchup with Bruntlett but the Phils shortstop won that battle with a base clearing triple. Utley then walked bringing up the struggling Howard who singled on a ground ball to right to bring home Bruntlett for a 9-1 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Chris Snyder homered off Jamie Moyer to get the score to 9-2, but the damage was all but done. Moyer left the game in the eighth and turned the game over to the bullpen to hopefully secure his second win of the season.

The Phils tacked on two more runs in the eighth and ninth. The first off a sac-fly by Gregg Dobbs bringing home Feliz, and the second on another fielding error on a ball hit by So Taguchi allowing Utley to score.

With the score 11-2, Charlie Manuel turned the game over to Clay Condrey, whose 7.45 ERA has made it difficult for him to get innings, so this was the perfect opportunity.

After three singles to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and a throwing error by Jenkins, allowing Miguel Montero to score, it looked like the D'backs were about to start a rally. Condrey managed to get it under control and only allowed one more run to score off a ground out by Chris Burke. The Phils finished with an 11-4 win against the league leaders and look to take the second game on Tuesday night.

The Phils expanded their lead in the NL East with a win on Monday by 1.5 games.

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