It was the kind of night that makes a fan sit back and say to themselves, “I hope this era of Phillies baseball never ends.”
Hunter Pence was smiling from ear to ear as he took the field for his first game in a Phillies uniform, pumping his fist, high-fiving the Phanatic, and giving a thumbs up to the fans as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. His first hit as a Phillie would come in the bottom of the eighth inning in the form of an RBI single. He went 1-for-5 hitting in the five hole behind Ryan Howard.
Placido Polanco was back in the lineup for the first time since June 4, after rehabbing a back injury, hitting seventh. He would finish the night going 2-for-5, breaking an 0-for-18 hitless streak dating back to June 30.
The almost completely All-Star lineup – Carlos Ruiz being the only starter not previously selected to an All-Star team – would bat a combined .390. Every Phillie reached base with only Raul Ibanez not getting a hit. Cliff Lee had his third two-hit game of the season and went 2-for-4 in the batter’s box.
It was Ryan Howard who stole the show, going 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. He hit his milestone 1,000th career hit and took sole passion of seventh place of all-time RBIs by a Phillie (829), passing Pat Burrell. Howard leads the National League in RBIs, with 81 this season.
It wasn’t all about the bats tonight, as the pitching staff did a notable job holding the Pirates to four runs.
Cliff Lee picked up his tenth win of the season allowing eight hits in seven and two thirds innings pitched, walking two and striking out 11. He allowed his fourteenth home run of the season to Pedro Alvarez in the fourth inning.
Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson shut it down in relief striking out the last four Pirate batters of the game. Madson earned his 18th save, dropping his ERA below two, to 1.96. Bastardo and Lee’s ERAs are 1.37 and 3.14, respectively.
Vance Worley gets the nod tomorrow, coming off his first career complete game in his last start, as the Phillies go for the sweep at 1:35 PM.