Save for a Carlos Beltran home run in the third, the Phillies controlled the Mets today in the first of a three game set at Citi Field. In keeping with his past three outings, Roy Halladay was less than spectacular, but got the job done, going 7 2/3 surrendering 4 runs. The hitters were there to support him however; their fourth straight game scoring seven or more runs.
The Phils kicked off the scoring in the second on a Carlos Ruiz single that plated Jayson Werth. Another run came in on a ground ball by Wilson Valdez where Chooch smartly avoided the tag long enough for Raul Ibanez to score. With a two-run cushion, Roy Halladay handed the lead to the Mets an inning later after Jennry Mejia came around on a Jose Reyes double. Scuffling, Carlos Beltran deposited a misplaced cutter into the right field seats to give the Mets a one run lead.
Not to be denied, the Phils came out in the 4th and promptly tied the game on an opposite field solo shot, his 29th of the season. A few singles and a walk later, and Roy Halladay's ground ball found a hole, scoring both Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. After a Shane Victorino continued his hot hitting with an opposite field single from the left side, the Phillies had a 6-3 lead that they would never relinquish.
Halladay settled down, retiring ten of eleven batters before an Ike Davis double and 116 pitches were enough for Charlie to yank him from the game. Chad Durbin would let the run in, closing the book on Roy's night. After Ryan Madson needlessly came in in a 4-run game to close it out, Halladay officially became the first pitcher in 27 years to win 18 games in a Phillies uniform. And considering the coma this lineup went into during summer's grueling stretch, it could very easily be 20 or more.
Chase Utley finished the scoring for the Phils with a home run to Utley's Corner, just his 13th of the year. With Howard and Utley hitting again, this lineup even without Jimmy Rollins, is coming together very nicely. Consider Carlos Ruiz's day: 3-3, one run, one RBI, two walks, bringing his average up to .296 and his OBP close to .400. His contributions from the catcher position are remarkable. Shane should be commended as well, having his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, raising his September batting average to over .400 and adding to his career-high in RBI's with 63. If he can keep that average up, his increased power will be very valuable to a team lacking Jimmy's production.
As of this writing, Atlanta holds an 8-6 lead on St. Louis in the 8th inning. Albert Pujols his due up third in the top of the 9th, so no lead is safe right now. Currently, the Phillies have a 1.5 game lead on the Braves in the East.
Kyle Kendrick and his tremendously short leash get the start tomorrow against BIG PELF and his fat 4.72 Post-ASG ERA at an odd 4:10 start time in the East.
22 games over .500 and counting...