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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Miracle With Doc On Mound; Phils Shut Out Braves


Your bullpen blow a game you had in the bag? No problem: just put the majors' leader in complete games over the past decade on the mound, add water, stir, bake and enjoy.

Phillies ace Roy Halladay twirled a few lucky breaks and some great defense into a five-hit shutout as the Phillies took Game 2 against the Braves by a score of 2-0.

Halladay set down the first eleven Braves he faced until Chipper Jones doubled to left-center. This included a drive by Troy Glaus in the second inning that center fielder Shane Victorino snagged just before it went over the wall.

In the second inning, Jayson Werth hit a pitch where he thought he had a home run and he bumped fists with first base coach Davey Lopes as he rounded first. The ball hit off the wall and Werth had to hustle to second for a double. This led to some apparent confusion by Braves radio announcer Don Sutton on whether Werth should have been called out on the play. This is the rule that he was referring to:

Rule 7.09(h): In the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.
Since Lopes wasn't assisting Werth in running the bases while the ball was in play, he wasn't called out. Raul Ibanez drove him in with a ground-rule double to right-center. Juan Castro singled to put men on the corners with none out. However Carlos Ruiz flied out to short right, Halladay struck out and Victorino hit a soft liner to center that McLouth got with a sliding grab.

Ryan Howard led off the sixth inning with a check swing that resulted in a freak single to left field. This proved to be significant because he scored on Werth's double. Raul Ibanez was intentionally walked and Hudson got three straight groundouts to end his day, including Escobar throwing out Werth at home for the first out.

The Braves tried to get rallies going the next two innings, but they were snuffed out both times. Melky Cabrera singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth, but was stranded with four pitches resulting in three outs. In the seventh, Jones and McCann hit back-to-back singles to start it off. Glaus struck out, but Heyward drew a walk to load the bases. After a five-pitch at-bat, Escobar hit a hard liner up the middle that bounced off the mound. Chase Utley was able to corral it and start an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, the Phillies' only one of the day.

Eric Hinske hit a bloop double down the left field line with one out in the eighth. He moved to third on Nate McLouth's groundout, but was stranded at third base when Martin Prado grounded out.

Tim Hudson was able to pitch around trouble after damage was done. The Phillies scored runs in the second and sixth innings. Both times after the scores, they had men on first and third with no one out. Both times, Hudson was able to keep the Phillies off of the board. He pitched six innings, allowing six hits, two runs (both earned), two intentional walks and five strikeouts. Jonny Venters continued his success, pitching two innings in relief, allowing no hits and getting two strikeouts. Takashi Saito finished the game for the Braves.

An Odd 'N End: The Braves are scuffling offensively as a team: they're 15th in the league in batting average (.227, three points above Houston's .224) and 13th in the league in slugging (.360, one of four teams below .400). Their league-leading 69 walks is what puts their on-base percentage tenth in the league (.329).

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