Jun 18, 2010

The Bats Are Back: Utley and Howard go yard in Phillies 9-5 win over Twins.

Philadelphia, PA - Ryan Howard went 4-4 with two home runs and Chase Utley belted his 11th homer of the year as the Phillies topped the Minnesota Twins 9-5 in game one of their three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

Joe Blanton (2-5) went a solid six innings, despite allowing three runs on seven hits, to clinch only his second win of the season.

Blanton showed control and composure in the win as he pitched four straight hit-less innings, and only walked three batters.

The Phillies, who have a  tendency to start out slow in interleague play, began the game guns-a-blazing scoring eight runs in the first two innings. 

Shane Victorino lead of the first with a walk and immediately stole second to get into scoring position. He was plated one out later on a Chase Utley single to right field to give the Phillies and early 1-0 lead.

Utley went 2-5 with four RBI in the game and was affective at the top of the order. Utley made up for an off night by Shane Victorino who went 0-3 with two walks.

After the Utley single Ryan Howard showed off his speed as he legged out a triple to right field that scored Chase from first base, to the give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead.

The Phils capped off an impressive first on a Jayson Werth sacrifice fly to left that scored Howard.

They kept the offense going in the second as Placido Polanco had an RBI single to center that started the Phillies rally. The Polanco single put runners on first and second and Chase Utley cleared them all on a 2-1 count for his 11th home run of the season.

Ryan Howard did Utley one better as he followed with a solo home run to right field to put the Phillies up 8-0.

After the Howard solo shot the string was pulled on Blackburn and the Twins attempted to salvage the rest of the game with their bullpen.

It was an off night for Twins starter as he only lasted 1 2/3 innings en route to his fourth loss of the season.

Jesse Crain salvaged the Twins, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and kept the Phillies at bay until the fifth when he was exchanged for Ron Mahay in the bottom of the fifth.

Mahay didn't record an out before Ryan Howard sent his 13th home run of the season deep over the center field wall to give the Phillies their ninth run of the game.

That was the climax for the Phillies offense as they were only held to four hits in the final four innings of the play.

The Twins tried to rally a few times and tallied their first run of the game in the top of the sixth as Michael Cuddeyer hit a one-out single to left field that scored Joe Mauer.

After a Delmon Young single in the top of the seventh Nick Punto hit his first home run of the season to bring the game to 9-3.

After the Punto homer Blanton was pulled and Chad Durbin sat the Twins down in order to eliminate any chances of a Twins rally.

The Phillies bullpen showed signs of improvement as J.C. Romero had a one hit eight inning for the Phillies to lower his era to 2.92.

The Phillies sent out Scott Mathieson to start the ninth and after allowing three singles in the first four batters sent a wild pitch past newly inserted catcher Brian Schneider that scored Delmon Young from third.

The Twins scored one more run in the ninth as Orlando Hudston grounded to short, scoring Punto.
Manager Charlie Manuel saw enough from Mathieson as he brought in Brad Ligde to record the final out to seal the Phillies win.

                         1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  R H E
Minnesota         0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 2  5 11 0
Philadelphia    3 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 X  9 11 0

Box Score

Game Notes: Cole Hamels will go for his seventh win tomorrow as he will face Twins righty Kevin Slowey... Jimmy Rollins is expected to return to the Phillies on Sunday in game three of the Twins series.

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