Phillies Defeat Valverde for Improbable Win
The Phillies couldn’t hit themselves out of a wet paper bag for eight innings against Astros starter Shawn Chacon. Astros manager Cecil Cooper lifted Chacon after eight innings and 109 pitches and put in his closer, Valverde, to try and close the game out. The Phils had only four hits, all singles, off Chacon through the first eight innings.
Chris Snelling got his first home run as a Phillie after being recalled on Sunday from Lehigh Valley to get the ninth inning rally started. Snelling’s home run was the first extra base hit of the game for either team and served to enliven the Phillies and those fans who remained after watching the Phils get put down handily through the first eight frames. Chacon had faced only four batters over the minimum before Valaverde gave up the Snelling homer to start the ninth.
Chase Utley was then hit by a Valverde slider on the first pitch he saw. Two batters later, Pat Burrell hit a long home run to right field that tied the game at three. Geoff Jenkins, the next hitter, reached on a wild pitch after swinging through a third strike. Pedro Feliz followed with a double into the right field corner that scored Jenkins from first and gave the Phils the 4-3 victory.
Adam Eaton contributed his third consecutive strong outing, allowing three earned runs in six innings of work. Eaton let a two out walk be the start of trouble in the first, but then went on to be firmly in command until his final inning of work in the sixth.
Despite his strong outing, it looked for eight innings as though Eaton would be a tough luck loser due to the stellar pitching of Chacon. Chacon retired eight of the first nine Phillies he faced, and was on cruise control for most of the game until the eighth when a one out walk created Chacon’s only trouble of the evening.
Valverde's continued struggles in the closer's role for the Astros allowed the Phillies to get a win in a game they were silent in for eight innings.
In the end, Chacon would receive a no decision for his efforts, and the Phillies would open the series with a win after failing to show much offensive spark for the first eight frames.
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