Ryan Howard stepped up to the dish with one on and sent the ball off into the massive sea of red and later in the the inning, Raul Ibanez knocked in another run to put the team behind. Ibanez would finish the night with four hits and giving fans enough reason to bring back the “RAUUULLL!!” chants.
Even better, the production came from more than just a couple of guys. Ben Francisco, who has in the lineup for Jayson Werth, went 2-for-4. His two RBI single in the bottom of the eighth put the team ahead for good. Maybe all this (not so young) kid needs to do is get inserted in the lineup more often. Let’s hope Cholly was taking notes.
Adding to all of this, Shane Victorino homered, making this the first game since mid-May that the Phils have hit more than one home run. Offensive contributions also came from Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez, the latter of which was responsible for two RBIs.
Brad Lidge came in to get the save in the ninth, and while it wasn’t as smooth as his last two, he was able to work his way out of a bases loaded jam. With all of the recent upheavals in the bullpen, it’s nice to see the Lidge from ’08 – we can only hope he sticks around for the balance of the season.
On the flipside, Kyle Kendrick got shelled, giving up 6 runs, 5 of them earned, over the course of 5 innings. While he has had more good starts than bad, his off nights can be particularly ugly. At least he’s mature enough to admit when he’s bad, as he came right out and said that he “pitched like shit” last night. Jose Contreras also got battered, allowing a triple to none other than Wes Helms, who knocked in highly-touted rookie Mike Stanton.
Tonight’s matchup will likely tell a much different story offensively as both team’s aces will be taking the hill. The last time Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson faced one another, the Phils won 1-0 as Halladay pitched only the second perfect game in team history. There likely won’t be an encore of that performance, but expect runs to come at a premium tonight.
With last night’s outburst, the Phils could be on their way to getting out of their offensive funk. Only time will tell, but if they can put up some numbers against a pitcher like Josh Johnson, then fans have one less thing to worry about.