The Phillies just seem to keep right on rolling as they do battle with the two teams that are supposed to be their biggest competition in the National League. After defeating the Brewers behind the great pitching of Cole Hamels, and the clutch hitting of a diluted lineup on Thursday, the Phillies followed up that effort with a 5-3 victory on Friday night.
Ryan Howard gave the team a commanding 3-0 lead with a three-run bomb in the first inning. It was his 32nd homer of the season, and his 11th since the beginning of August. The first-baseman has continued to thrive in the late months of the season as he traditionally does, in addition to his 11 homeruns, he has driven in a total of 27 runs since the end of July.
Brewers starter Shawn Marcum has enjoyed a strong season, entering the game with a 12-5 record, and 3.11 ERA. However, he struggled heavily against the Phillies’ lineup, giving up five runs on nine hits, and walking four.
The early advantage was all the support that Roy Halladay would require. The right-hander put on one his stronger outings of late, allowing just one run on four hits over eight innings, striking out nine and walking three. He picked up his 17th win of the season, and lowered his ERA to 2.44.
Keeping Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder under control was again a key element in the Phillies victory. On Thursday, Cole Hamels held the All-Stars to a combined 1-8 at the plate. On Friday, Halladay also did a fair job of keeping the two offensive powerhouses from doing any damage, holding them to a combined 2-6 against him with no RBIs.
On a down note, Antonio Bastardo was asked to pitch the ninth inning in relief of Halladay, and didn’t perform well. The rookie gave up a hit and a walk to start the inning, and was then lifted from the game in favor of Ryan Madson.
Madson was brought into a challenging situation, working with two-runners on and no outs, but was able to get the job done for his 29th save of the season. The runners that Bastardo had allowed on both scored, but Madson was still able to preserve the win.
The Phillies have now at the very least secured a split against the Brewers, and will attempt to win their sixth game in a row tomorrow with the red-hot Cliff Lee on the mound.
Player Of The Game: Ryan Howard
The Big Piece made life a lot easier for Roy Halladay by giving him a nice three-run to work with the in the first inning. Not only did his blast take pressure off of his starter, but it also took some life away from the Brewers, who were hoping a fresh start would do them some good. Howard always seems to show up play late in the season, as the games take on bigger meaning.