In a match up that featured the division leaders of the AL & NL East, Ryan Howard’s two home run display lifted the Philadelphia Phillies past the Boston Red Sox 8-2 Monday night at Citizens Bank Park in front of a sold out crowd of 45,026 fans. The multi-home run game was Howard’s third of the season and 15th of his young career.
Bartolo Colon only lasted four innings on the mound for the Red Sox and was pulled from the game after experiencing back stiffness. Colon allowed four runs on six hits and believes he may have injured his back while batting.
“I think I did it on a swing,” Colon said through a translator. “We’ll find out more tomorrow, but I think I’ll make my next start.”
For the Phillies, starting pitcher Cole Hamels tossed seven innings of solid baseball allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five in his outing. The win improves his record on the season to (7-4) and in convinced that this is not the last time he will be seeing Boston.
“I believe we’re destined to play each other in the World Series,” Hamels said. “We can compete with them any day of the week.”
Besides back-to-back home runs by Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew in the 5th inning, the Sox were never really able to get anything going against Hamels and the Phillies. The 24-year old was in control the entire outing and was very tough once he was ahead in the count.
“He’s not the type of guy you want to fall behind,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’s terrific.”
On in relief, Mike Timlin allowed four runs on four hits in only 2/3 innings of work for Boston. The appearance raises his ERA to 7.06 on the season and makes one wonder if it is only a matter of time before the Red Sox decide to cut ties with the veteran. At 42 years old, Timlin has been in MLB for 21 years and just does not have the same kind of stuff he used to. With pitchers Dice-K Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholtz almost ready to return to the club, the issue of roster spots will arise and Timlin’s spot will certainly be one that they consider to replace.
Tonight the Sox look to bounce back into the winning column as they send Jon Lester to the hill. Lester, 5-3 on the season, will be up against veteran southpaw Jamie Moyer who boasts a 7-3 record. Many moons ago (1996), Moyer pitched for the Red Sox before being dealt away to Seattle in a trade that brought Darren Bragg to Boston. Since being traded, Moyer has gone onto win 171 more games. Another great call by former GM Dan Duquette.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm EST.
After making it through the top of the 3rd inning, the rains came and washed out the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals in their season opener. The defending NL Champions were trailing 5-1 at the time the game was called but it will all be erased and replayed at a later date.
The Arizona Diamondbacks still have a bitter taste in their mouth after being swept last October in the NLCS by the Colorado Rockies. Taking the field for the first time since that playoff series, the defending NL West Champions looked very solid in a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Webb picked up right where the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner left off pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in route to his first victory of the year. The offensive attack was led by three solo bombs hit by Chris Young and Eric Byrnes in the 3rd inning and the other hit by Jeff Salazar in a PH at bat in the 7th that gave the D-Backs some breathing room with a 2 run cushion. Brandon Lyon recorded the save pitching a perfect 9th inning.
It was a pitchers duel for 8 innings in Chicago at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers before both teams came to life for 3 run 9th inning performances, but it was the Brewers who would prevail with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings. Corey Hart lifted the Brewers with a 2 RBI double in the ninth that put them ahead 3-0. Closer Eric Gagne came in and suffered his first blown save of the season (surprise, surprise) by allowing a three-run home run to Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome, the first of his major league career, which knotted the game at 3-3. In the 10th inning, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a sac-fly that plated Craig Counsell for the game winning run for the Brewers. David Riske pitched a perfect 10th frame and recorded the save.
With 5 runs on 5 hits in the top of the 9th inning, the Washington Nationals turned a close game into a statement win in their 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Johnson’s RBI double opened the flood gates for National bats, and the hits just kept on coming as the team chased out Phillies closer Tom Gordon after allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits and only recording 1 out. Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge each produced 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Nationals in the win. The Phillies were led by SS Jimmy Rollins who went 2-4 on the game with a pair of RBI’s and a HR.
Behind the arm of Johan Santana, the New York Mets captured their first victory of the 2008 season over the Florida Marlins with a 7-2 win. Santana struck out 8 and allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings. The one mistake he made came in the 4th inning when he allowed a two-run homer to Josh Willingham. After the HR, Santana would only allow two runners to reach base. The Mets scored 6 of their 7 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, led by a bases clearing double by 3B David Wright. Wright went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the game. New York’s bullpen worked a scoreless 8th and 9th to preserve the win for Santana, Mark Hendrickson suffered the loss for Florida.
Brad Penny pitched 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers back it up with some early runs that would be hold up for a 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Barry Zito struggled for the Giants allowing 3 runs in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd. He last only 5 innings and was pulled after 87 pitches and allowing 8 hits. The Dodgers runs in the 1st came on a Matt Kemp RBI single, followed by a Jeff Kent two-run blast to deep left-center field. SS Rafael Furcal also added three hits in the winning effort.
The Atlanta Braves came up just short, twice, in a thrilling 12-11 twelve innings game that ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates on top. The Braves mustered up a 5 run 9th inning to tie the game at 9-9 and left the winning run on base. After a few scoreless innings, the Pirates were able to score three runs in the 12th on Xavier Nady three-run homer to dead center field. The Braves made things interesting scoring 2 in the bottom of the 12th on a Jeff Francoeur solo shot and an RBI single by Matt Diaz but stranded the tying run on base to suffer their second loss of the season. Tom Glavine pitched well for the Braves but took a no decision with 5 innings pitched, 7 hits and 1 earned run allowed. Pirates relief pitcher, Franquelis Osoria, pitched from the 10th inning on, and finished the game for the win.
Jake Peavy helped his own cause by going 1-1 at the plate with 2 RBI’s and then made those runs stand up by pitching 7 scoreless innings in San Diego’s 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros. 2B Tadahito Iguchi paced a balanced offensive attack for the Padres with 3 hits on the night. The Astros looked rusty at the plate only collecting 4 hits in the contest, 2 of them coming from newly acquired SS Miguel Tejada. Row Oswalt took the loss for Houston, scattering 11 hits and 3 strike outs over 5 and 1/3 innings worked.
While everyone’s eyes, ears, and …. imaginations have been focused on where Johan Santana would end up, the American League hot stove has been quietly churning. Here is a quick recap of some moves to date. (more)