Phillies Sweep Marlins For Seventh Win in a Row
Not that the Phillies didn't deserve to win 3-1 over the Marlins Wednesday. They did.
But between costly errors and a lights-out pitching performance from Josh Johnson, that was the vibe this game assumed. They easily could've lost.
They didn't, instead winning a season high seventh straight and 15th in their last 19 (.789) to close out the series sweep and homestand.
The win puts the Phils above .500 and at 3.5 back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card since the first week of June.
They're now 6-0 in their latest two-run games.
Up next are seven games on the road against two teams (Astros, Mets) with a .377 win percentage.
Cliff Lee, Home Winner
Now for the second time this season.
Not how you figured it would go. Still conditioned to think Lee's only run allowed (unearned) in the sixth would've been the same smudge Wednesday it had been so many times before.
Instead, his seven innings of four-hit ball held up.
Lee lowered his home ERA this season to 3.73.
In his last five, he's 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA.
The Other Guy
Johnson worked a no-hitter through five, before Jimmy Rollins broke it up with a lead-off single in the sixth. Rollins entered with 12-for-38 (.316) lifetime against Johnson.
Rollins scored later in the inning on a John Mayberry RBI single to knot the score, 1-1.
That early mojo was crucial, seeing as Johnson needed 20 pitches to gut out the rally that followed. He needed just 79 to get through the first five innings.
The Marlins entered 1-4 in Johnson's last five starts in which he went over 100 innings.
He finished with 115, and three earned runs through seven innings.
No, that minutiae wasn't the half of it for Rollins Wednesday.
Rollins delivered a two-run shot for the game's go-ahead runs in the seventh off Johnson, for his 19th of the year, third among NL shortstops.
That makes it two and a row for Rollins, Philly's all-of-a-sudden hero.
Phillippe Aumont allowed just one walk in a four-batter eighth inning.
After hitting Austin Kearns with a pitch, Jonathan Papelbon blew by the next two batters he faced. He walked Bryan Petersen to put runners on first and second, but rung up Gorkys Hernandez to punctuate another statement game.
Last night, the Phillies basked in the glow of questions about the prideful brand of baseball they've been playing of late, one grounded in fundamentals and execution and attention to detail.
Wednesday, a lack thereof almost buried them.
They allowed back-to-back errors in the sixth, one on Jimmy Rollins, the other on Lee, to break up Lee's running streak of 10 batters retired.
Two batters later, Carlos Lee slapped an RBI single to score Donovan Solano for a 1-0 lead.
With an 0-for-3 outing Erik Kratz is now 0-for-13 since Friday, the day before Carlos Ruiz was activated from the 15-day DL.
Coincidence? Causation? Not a clue.