How else would you expect the Phillies to put the exclamation point on a series like the one they just played against the Diamondbacks? The Phillies flexed their muscle in the three game set and completed a sweep of the dismal Diamondbacks with a dominating 12-3 defeat of Arizona.
The offense wasted no time giving starting pitcher Joe Blanton a lead to work with. After Blanton put the Diamondbacks down in order to start the game Shane Victorino put the wheels in motion with a one out triple to deep center field.
After Chase Utley walked Ryan Howard hit a double to right field with no shift in play by Arizona. Victorino scored and Utley advanced to third base. Two batters later Ben Francisco brought Utley and Howrd home on a single to right center field to give the Phillies a quick 3-0 lead.
Arizona rallied against Blanton and picked up their first run in the top of the second inning and chipped away with a pair of runs in the fourth inning to tie the game.
Blanton would help his own cause in the bottom of the fourth though by picking up his first run batted in since his memorable World Series home run in game four of the 2008 World Series. Blanton grounded out but Jayson Werth scored on the play to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
From there the rout was on.
Werth hit a two run home run in the fifth inning to extend the Phillies lead to 6-3. In the sixth inning catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a lead off home run to left field. Blanton followed with a single, his first hit of two on the night, and Jimmy Rollins followed that with a single.
Two batters later Utley singled to score Blanton and Howard connected for a three run home run that landed in the Diamondbacks' bullpen. Howard's homer put the Phillies up 11-3. The Phillies added one more run in the seventh inning to cap the scoring for the game.
Blanton had an interesting night. His two base hits aside, he pitched eight innings while striking out just four batters. He yielded 10 hits and three runs although he had some shaky defense behind him, but he threw just 97 pitches. He likely could have pitched a complete game but Charlie Manuel opted for Chad Durbin for the ninth inning, probably just to get some work in.
The starting pitching (and starting pitching like relief appearance by Jamie Moyer) was incredible in this series.
It should be expected that the Phillies would beat the Diamondbacks as the two teams are on different playing fields right now, but the Phillies did what they need to do. That is to take advantage of games against clearly inferior opponents.
While the Phillies put the finishing touches on a three game sweep the Florida Marlins lost another game in Houston. The Marlins fall into a tie for second place with the Atlanta Braves and both teams sit six and a half games behind the Phillies.
This weekend the Phillies head to New York for a weekend series with the Mets and the Marlins travel to Atlanta for a key weekend series against the Braves.