Well, Gee, nothing really lasts forever, does it?
The Phillies, playing before their 122nd straight sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park, saw their 11-game winning streak come to an end, losing 5-2 to the New York Mets. The Mets were led by rookie pitcher Dillon Gee and rookie leftfielder Lucas Duda. Who?
Gee, you never heard of Dillon? The rookie pitcher was making only the fourth start of his career, and the Phillies jumped on him immediately. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Chase Utley singled to left center, which was followed by a home run blast from Ryan Howard, his 31st of the season to put the Philies up, 2-0.
After Howard’s shot, the game settled into an unexpected pitcher’s duel, as Phils starter Kyle Kendrick (now 10-10) cruised through the first six innings. Kendrick, looking very sharp, yielded only three singles, while striking out four (with no walks) through the first two-thirds of the game.
Meanwhile, the Phils could not do anything else against Gee (now 2-1) and some of the electricity seemed to have left Citizens Bank for the first time in many home games.
Entering the top of the seventh with that 2-0 lead, the good fortune that has aided and abetted their 11-game win streak vanished into the warm September night air. After a Beltran single, David Wright topped a ball to the third base side of the mound that Kendrick pounced on and threw a strike to the second base bag. Shortstop Wilson Valdez flashed like an NFL cornerback in front of Utley, who was expecting the throw. They only got the force out on the play.
With a man on first and one out, Ike Davis singled just out of Utley’s reach to bring Angel Pagan to the plate. Pagan hit a bouncer that Ryan Howard booted to load the bases. Another Mets no-name named Josh Thole singled in a run to cut the lead to 2-1, and Kendrick hit the showers in favor of Chad Durbin.
The Durbinator came into the one-out bases-loaded jam, and may have breathed a sigh of relief to see someone named Lucas Duda—who came in hitting .170, but with six of his nine career hits going for extra bases. Advantage Duda, who ripped a Durbin meatball into left center, knocking in three runs.
The lumbering Duda was replaced by a pinch-runner, but probably would have scored himself on a double by Jose Reyes. Just like that it was 5-2, Mets.
On many other nights during the Phillies' ridiculous hot streak, a three-run deficit with three innings and nine tough outs left would be almost easy to overcome. This was not one of those nights, as no breaks came their way.
In the bottom of the seventh, pinch-hitter Domonic Brown—seeing his first action since Sept. 8—followed a two-out double by Wilson Valdez with a shot down the right field line. On another night, the ball would have left the yard, pulled the Phils to within one-run, and getting the place jumping again. On this night, the ball hooked foul, and Gee struck him out on the next pitch.
In the bottom of the eighth, Utley hit one up the middle that bounced off reliever Pedro Feliciano. On this night, it ricocheted right to Wright (Mets third baseman David Wright) who completed the rare 1-5-3 ground out.
The Mets went deeper into their bullpen in the bottom of the ninth, and after a leadoff walk to Howard, the Phils never threatened again. As soon as you could say Hisanori Takahashi, the game and the amazing September winning streak was over.
Well, nothing lasts forever, and, Gee, sometimes you even get beaten by some anonymous Duda named Lucas.
- The Phils magic number to win the NL East remained at two as the Atlanta Braves shut-out the Washington Nationals, 5-0.
- The Colorado Rockies led by their amazing duo of Car-Go (Carlos Gonzalez) and Tulo (Troy Tulowitski) rallied to beat the Giants, 10-9, in 10 innings. Coupled with the San Diego Padres win over the Reds, the Giants now trail the Padres by a half-game with the Rockies hanging in, but still four games back.
- The Phillies play their last regular season home game tomorrow with a Sunday matinee finale versus the Mets. On paper, it should be a “Misch-match” with the scorching Cole Hamels (12-10, 2.93) facing Pat Misch (0-4, 4.44, with a career record of 3-15, 4.74). If the Phils win and the Braves lose, the Fightins can clinch the division at home again.
- Many dudes—thousands and thousands—have played in the major leagues, but Lucas is the first “Duda” to have done so, according to www.baseball-reference.com. You don’t get this information just anywhere, folks.
- And speaking of names, Dillon Gee was the first Gee to play in the bigs since a 6’9” left-handed pitcher named John Alexander “Whiz” Gee last toed the rubber in 1946 for the New York Giants. Gee, Whiz, I swear I did not make that one up. Feel free to check!