Petco Park is not supposed to be a hitter's park but Chase Utley and Ryan Howard's back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning would have you think otherwise. The power shots helped the Phillies build a 4-1 lead on the host San Diego Padres and the team held on for a 5-3 road win.
The best road team in baseball got a solid outing from Joe Blanton, who pitched seven innings allowing three runs on six hits and struck out five. In the process Blanton dropped his season ERA to 5.86, dipping below six for the first time this season.
Blanton was cruising along in the game and ran into some trouble with two outs in the sixth inning. Adrian Gonzalez, the National League home runs leader, hit a solo home run to bring the Padres to within two runs of the Phillies.
Scott Hairston followed that with another two out solo home run to give the Padres their own set of back to back home runs.
Blanton got the final out though and pitched through the seventh inning, handing the game over to Scott Eyre, who in turn handed the game over to Brad Lidge. Lidge recorded his fourth straight save in as many games, but it was not your typical save.
Eyre pitched a solid eight inning and started the ninth inning. To start the inning Eyre walked Gonzalez, which prompted manager Charlie Manuel to bring in Lidge. After Lidge recorded the first out a pitch got away from Carlos Ruiz.
With Gonzalez advancing to second Ruiz threw to Jimmy Rollins. Gonzalez's slide made him safe but when his foot came of the bag Rollins made the tag for the second out. The Padres argued the call but the out would stand. Brian Giles then then popped up to end the ball game.
For a Phillies fan there is a lot to take in a positive light form this game. While the offense put up some mediocre numbers with runners in scoring position the offense did power their way to five runs.
Blanton gave you seven solid innings and was in control all night. Lidge was perfect for the fourth straight time, although it would be nice to not have to use him for a game to give him a rest.
Paired with the Mets blowing a late lead by allowing the Pittsburgh%20Pirates">Pirates to score five runs in the eighth inning the Phillies' lead in the NL East is increased to 1.5 games.
Tonight the Phillies send minor league prospect Antonio Bastardo to the mound. Bastardo will make his major league debut tonight in place of the injured Brett Myers. He will be opposed by one of the top names on fans' wish lists to replace Myers via trade, Jake Peavy.