Phillies Sweep Reds, Advance to NLCS

Cole Hamels pitched a dominant complete game shutout as the Phillies swept the Reds en route to their 3rd straight NLCS appearance.

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Celebrate a Little; Phillies Advance to NLCS for Third Straight Year

An Orlando Cabrera first inning error turned out to be all they needed. Cole Hamels went nine shutout, walkless innings, ending a great night with a Joey Votto double play and a Scott Rolen strikeout, his eighth of the series. While Charlie could have gone to Madson and Lidge for the last few outs, he stayed with Cole and it paid off for him.

Chase Utley went yard, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz had two hits apiece, and Shane Victorino made the biggest play of the game, snaring a line drive off the bat of Brandon Phillips to keep a run off the board early on. H20 does the job and though the hitters came up short too often this series, they weren’t really necessary. Phillies pitching and Reds fielding ended up being the difference.

Pop a bottle or two, but save the good stuff because we’ve got plenty of celebrating to go.

Phillies win 2-0. Sit back and watch the rest of the Giants and Braves series. I want the Braves.


Recap: Phillies Defeat Reds 7-4

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Jayson Werth scored the go-ahead run on an error-filled play in the seventh inning, as the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of numerous Cincinnati miscues to beat the Reds, 7-4, in Game 2 of their NLDS matchup.

The Reds committed four errors to match a Division Series record and Cincinnati pitchers hit three batters, allowing the Phillies to erase an early 4-0 deficit.

The teams combined for a Division Series-record six errors, as Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley committed two in the second inning. But he finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in at the plate to help the Phillies take the comeback victory, which gives them a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. A potentially decisive Game 3 is set for Sunday in Cincinnati.

The NL East champions won the series opener on Wednesday thanks to a no-hitter thrown by Roy Halladay. Friday’s game was considerably less tidy for Phillies starter Roy Oswalt, who gave up a leadoff home run to Brandon Phillips and had control problems in the early innings. He lasted five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk.

But the Phillies bullpen threw four one-hit innings, capped off by a scoreless ninth from Brad Lidge.

The NL Central-champion Reds looked to be in position to even the series, as Phillips went 3-for-4 to pace the offense and starter Bronson Arroyo avoided trouble through the first four innings.

But the tide started to shift in the bottom of the fifth inning, when pinch- hitter Domonic Brown stood on first with two outs after grounding into a fielder’s choice.

Shane Victorino then reached base when he grounded a ball to second and Phillips didn’t field it cleanly. Placido Polanco, back in the Phillies’ lineup after missing Game 1 with back soreness, then smacked a grounder to third. The ball crawled up and over Scott Rolen’s glove, leaving the bases loaded with two away.

Utley followed by lining a two-run single to right to get the Phillies within 4-2. However, Arroyo fanned Ryan Howard on an up-and-in pitch to end the inning.

J.C. Romero got the first two outs in the top of the sixth, while Chad Durbin got a pickoff of Drew Stubbs to send the inning to the bottom half.

Werth worked a leadoff walk before Arroyo induced a pop out from Jimmy Rollins, the last batter he faced. Arroyo gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Arthur Rhodes came in and, with two outs, hit Carlos Ruiz on the left kneecap with a fastball. Logan Ondrusek then entered and hit pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the helmet before walking Victorino to force in a run.

Jose Contreras (1-0) threw a 1-2-3 seventh for the Phillies, while fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman (0-1) took the mound for the Reds in the bottom half.

The hard-throwing rookie left-hander began the inning with a 100 m.p.h. fastball to Utley, then ran his third pitch high and tight. It appeared to hit Utley in the wrist, and he was awarded first base as a result.

After Howard fanned on three straight fastballs, Werth managed to get his bat on a pitch and send it to third. Rolen threw to second to try to get the lead runner, but Utley was called safe — like the hit-by-pitch, television replays were inconclusive, and the Reds argued he was out.

That left two runners on with one down for Rollins, who flared a ball to right field. Jay Bruce tracked it but missed the underhand catch.

Utley hurriedly reversed course and scored, despite appearing to miss third base — though the Reds did not appeal. Werth also crossed the plate on the play after Phillips lost the ball trying to make a relay throw.

That gave the Phillies a 5-4 edge, and after Raul Ibanez singled, Ruiz plated Rollins with a grounder to short. Nick Masset eventually came in and got the inning’s final out.

Ryan Madson worked around a one-out single by Joey Votto to throw a scoreless eighth, and the Phillies tacked on an RBI single by Werth in the bottom half. Lidge walked Bruce to begin the ninth, but retired the following three hitters to secure the wild win.

Cincinnati controlled the game early, taking advantage of Oswalt’s shaky control of his breaking pitches. Phillips began the game by jumping on a 2-1 slider in the middle of the plate and sending it over the left field wall.

Then in the second, Utley ranged to his left to field a grounder hit by Laynce Nix. But his throw pulled Howard off the bag, and Nix advanced on a wild pitch. After Stubbs walked, Ryan Hanigan hit a grounder to short. Rollins flipped to Utley for the first out, but Utley slinged a throw to first that skipped past Howard’s glove, allowing Nix to score for a 2-0 Reds lead.

Bruce opened the fourth by hammering a low-and-in slider deep over the right field fence, and Phillips got the Reds started in the fifth with a double. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Votto’s sacrifice fly to the wall in left, putting Cincinnati up 4-0.

Game Notes

Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera left the game in the fifth inning after apparently re-aggravating the left oblique injury that kept him out for almost all of August. He was replaced by Paul Janish…The previous record for most combined errors in a Division Series game was five. Houston and Los Angeles set that record on October 11, 1981, while Colorado and Atlanta matched it on October 3, 1995…A single team has committed four errors in a Division Series game five times. Prior to the Reds, the Cubs were the most recent team to do so, on October 2, 2008…Arroyo and Oswalt were both making their first postseason appearances since 2005. Arroyo was with the Red Sox then, while Oswalt was pitching for the Astros…All of Chapman’s three runs allowed were unearned…Lidge has converted 11 consecutive postseason save chances.


Lidge Saves Ninth, Phillies Win 7-4

Brad Lidge walked the leadoff man for the billionth time in a save situation. With Jay Bruce on first, the wayward closer got Drew Stubbs to fly out to center for the first out. Former Phillie Miguel Cairo came on as a pinch hitter and proceeded to fly out to shallow center. In a startlingly simple series of events, Chris Heisey turned on a fastball and hit a hot shot at Placido Polanco, who ably fielded it and threw to Ryan Howard for the final out.

God bless Brad Lidge. Phillies up 2-0 in the series. Cole Hamels will take the ball on Sunday and try to get the series sweep and advance to the NLCS against the Giants/Braves winner.


With a 7-4 Lead, Brad Lidge Gets the Ball

A Chase Utley line drive, a wild pitch, a Ryan Howard intentional walk, and a Jayson Werth seeing-eye RISP single gave the Phillies and Brad Lidge another insurance run to work with. The 3-4-5 hitters have been on base nine times today. That’s awful nice.

Nick Masset intentionally walked Raul Ibanez to load the bases for Carlos Ruiz with two outs. Poised to deliver the final blow, Chooch ended up grounding out softly to short.

Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, and a pinch hitter will be on to face Brad in the ninth. Retiring the leadoff man will be, as always, crucial. We’re three outs away from going to Cincinnati with three chances to advance to the NLCS.

In Lidge we trust.

7-4 Phillies.


Roy Halladay Twirls No-Hitter, Phillies Beat Reds

Ramon Hernandez popped out. Miguel Cairo popped out. And Brandon Phillips went in the hole early and couldn’t dig himself out. A chopper right in front of the plate that Carlos Ruiz fielded and threw to Ryan Howard for the final out.

No hits.

Phillies win.

Roy Halladay is King of the World.


Halladay Hits! Victorino Single Ousts Volquez Early, Phillies Lead 4-0

Roy Halladay looks great. Inducing four ground outs to one fly out and a strikeout of Scott Rolen, he’s only thrown 22 pitches thus far. While I doubt he’ll be on any sort of pitch count since he hasn’t been overworked lately, it’s good to see him keeping it down in the early going. You never know what to expect from starters in their first Postseason game, even guys who happen to be Roy Halladay.

Werth and Ibanez were retired after working decent at-bats from Volquez. Ruiz took four straight balls to bring Polanco-replacement Wilson Valdez to the plate in his first postseason at-bat. A ground-ball up the middle proved troublesome for Orlando Cabrera and the number one fielding team in the NL when a flip to Brandon Phillips went array and Ruiz slid in safely at second. Roy Halladay came up and hit a blooper to left that dropped in front of a flailing Jonny Gomes. Ruiz scored from second and runners are on first and third for the top of the order. Halladay, who has never appeared in a postseason game in all his career in the AL, proved that the NL is just a better time.

Volquez kept pitching Rollins down and in, working a full count before he took a walk to load the bases. Edinson has been around the plate so far, but hasn’t gotten the corners from umpire John Hirschbeck. Shane Victorino worked a full count as well (and a blown non-strike call) then poked an outside fastball into center field, scoring Valdez and Halladay.

Edinson Volquez has been ran from the game after 56 pitches and 1.2 innings of work. Bring on the bullpen!

Phillies lead 4-0.


Phillies Vs Reds: Placido Polanco Not In Starting Lineup

The Phillies announced today that Placido Polanco will not be in the starting lineup tonight in the postseason opener. They also say that it’s not related to the sore elbow he’s dealt with for most of the season.

Polanco has battled a sore elbow all season, but a Phillies spokesman said today that the veteran third baseman is not in the lineup because of back soreness. Manager Charlie Manuel said Polanco told him yesterday that he had a stiff back and that it got worse overnight. Polanco told him today that he could not bend over or move side to side, Manuel said.

Wilson Valdez takes over at 3rd base and will hit 8th. This leaves the Phillies very thin at the infield positions right now. Valdez is their only real legitimate option to backup 2B, SS, and 3B. Mike Sweeney & Greg Dobbs could play there if needed, but would likely be a liability in the field.

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