The Phillies got a comfortable W on Monday night, defeating the cross-state Pirates 8-3. Offensive heroes were Jimmy Rollins with 2-Run Homer and a double and All-Star candidate Carlos Ruiz who had 3 hits and tallied 3 runs. Joe Blanton went 7 innings giving up 3 runs (2 ER). Defensively the Phils were mixed with a couple of errors, but turned 3 double plays including one in the 9th which helped to keep Closer Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen.
On the other hand the Pirates largest undoing was their defense - 4 errors including a couple of little league worthy overthrows that led to a big first inning for the Phils in the first. Two of the Bucos errors were by Jose Tabata, who did redeem himself with a homer in the 3rd inning.
Snaphshots (click any pix to enlarge)
It feels like Blanton's starts have either been really good or awful. Monday night would fall closer to the good end. If Placido Polanco doesn't commit a throwing error in the 5th, Blanton would have likely gotten away with 2 runs over 7, which for me would have moved the start over fully into the really good category.
Sunset Citizens Bank Park
It was a beautiful night for baseball - a bit windy with a minor sprinkle but generally pretty comfortable.
Fireworks nights definitely bring out a different crowd for games - no matter how bad the economy gets people can afford to shell out $300 to bring themselves and a couple of kids to a game - even if they don't see a pitch. In the bottom of the 7th the Phils had the bases loaded and there was a wave cycling the park in full roar.
The Pirates really don't have anybody hitting well except Andrew McCutchen, yet they are in the race for the central division lead and wild card. They do appear to have a lot of exciting young players (McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez, Walker) and it will be interesting to see how their second half unfolds. James McDonald appears to coming into his own as a pitcher.
Just because I like the picture.
Chase Utley was in the house, which created a bit of a buzz. He really was barely shagging flies when I was there - in Right Center. It didn't look like he was working on a move to the outfield or anything like that.
Good Guy Awards for Hunter Pence, Andrew McCutchen, and Casey McGehee who were all spotted signing autographs.
Everything about Hunter Pence is unorthodox. Ugly swing, Ugly thrower, runs funny.