On Friday evening in the Bronx, the Yankees and the Red Sox met for the 2,073rd time in one of the oldest and most well-known rivalries in baseball. However, just an hour and a half down I-95, a rivalry match-up just as intense was underway in Philadelphia as the Phillies (61-48) defeated the Mets (54-55) 7-5.
Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.65 ERA) started the evening in a way he hasn’t in quite some time. He tossed an easy 13-pitch first inning only giving up a single to Angel Pagan who would be out just moments later as Carlos Beltran batted into an inning ending double play. Going into Friday’s game, Blanton was boasting a first inning ERA of nearly eight in 2010.
Before Chad Durbin (3-1, 3.35 ERA) took over in the eighth, Blanton had thrown seven clean innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking none. It was undeniably his best outing of the season.
Down 2-1 going into the eighth inning, the Fightins had work to do. After going 0-3 to begin his tenure as interim first baseman, Mike Sweeney kicked off an 11-batter, 6-run rally with a simple single to right. The Mets bullpen burned through three pitchers as Sweeney, Ben Francisco, Carlos Ruiz, Ross Gload, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco tacked on an RBI each to their season totals. Feeling secure with their late inning success, Charlie Manuel sent Danys Baez (2-3, 5.21 ERA) in to protect a now five run lead.
After falling behind in the count 0-2, Baez worked quickly to turn things around with three called strikes to David Wright. Next, Ike Davis singled on an 0-1 cutter and was moved up to second after Josh Thole popped up to Rollins. Jeff Francoeur then answered with an infield single. With two Mets on and two down, Charlie called on J.C. Romero (1-0, 3.70 ERA) to face lefty Chris Carter. However, just as quickly as the pitchers changed, so did the hitters. The Mets brought in right-handed hitter Mike Hessman who promptly homered off Romero cutting the Phillies lead to two. Brad Lidge (1-1, 4.81 ERA) was lights-out, getting Jesus Feliciano to strike out looking at an 82 MPH slider. Durbin was credited with the win, Lidge earned the save (13), and Bobby Parnell (0-1, 4.12) took the loss.
As the Phillies were celebrating their 441st franchise win over the Mets, fifth win in a row and 12th straight win at home, the Braves and the Giants were heading into extra innings in Atlanta.
After 11 innings of baseball at Turner Field, Pat Burrell came to the Giants’ rescue with a sacrifice fly ball allowing the go-ahead run to score as San Francisco would ultimately go on to beat the Braves 3-2. At the end of the day, the Phillies had snuck their way to within one game of first place in the NL East.
That’s right: The Philadelphia Phillies are just one game back in the east, and only one and a half games out of the NL wildcard. The Phillies, who still have the returns of Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard to look forward to later this season, send Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.56 ERA) to take on Johan Santana (8-6, 3.20 ERA) and the Mets tomorrow night at 7:05 and will be broadcast on myphl 17 and MLB Network.
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