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Better Late Than Never...

May 31st 2012 03:26
Carlos Ruiz's 2-run HR in the 7th jump-started the Phillies' offense tonight.

A wise man once said good things come to those who wait.

Another said patience is a virtue.

These gentlemen clearly weren't Philly sports fans!

It looked to be an all-too-familiar script for the Phaithful tonight at Citi Field. With the offense again floundering and squandering a few scoring opportunities, things weren't looking too promising after the Phils fell behind 3-1 after Cliff Lee surrendered a long 2-run home run to Lucas Duda in the bottom of the 6th.

But a funny thing happened on the way to another frustrating loss: the Phillie offense came to life, battering the Mets' bullpen for seven runs over the final three frames to take the rubber game of the three-game set in New York, 10-6.

The win capped a solid road trip for the Fightins, giving them a 5-2 mark and a pair of series wins over the Cardinals and Mets. They now are 27-25 on the season, and despite still bringing up the rear of the NL East, have crept to within three games of first place.

Philadelphia had managed just a Ty Wigginton solo home run off of Mets' starter Dillon Gee through the first six plus innings, and Gee looked to finish his night on a positive note after retiring the first two batters he faced in the 7th.

But Brian Schneider, who was starting his third straight game behind the plate with Carlos Ruiz on the mend with a strained hamstring, smoked a double just over the outstretched glove of Mets' CF Andres Torres - who didn't exactly take a precise route in his pursuit of the ball.

With Lee coming up and Schneider now in scoring position, Charlie Manuel decided to lift his starter for a pinch hitter, who was none-other-than Ruiz. Mets' skippper Terry Collins countered with hard-throwing Bobby Parnell, and lifted Gee after a 110-pitch night.

Parnell, whose fastball routinely sits in the mid-to-upper 90s on the JUGS gun, started Chooch off with a breaking ball for a strike, then came back with a 94-mph heater off the outside corner. He then went to the offspeed well once too often, serving up a hanging breaking ball that was screaming "HIT ME!" when it left his hand.

Ruiz obliged, and launched a game-tying homer into the camera well in left field, much to the delight of the Phaithful who made the trip up the New Jersey Turnpike for the game, who serenaded him with the "Chooooch" call that has become a staple wherever the Phillies are playing.

After a scoreless 7th from Antonio Bastardo, the Phils took the lead for good in the 8th as Shane Victorino, who had taken an 0-for collar through the first two and a half games to that point (and not looked good at all at the plate doing it), put together a good at-bat and lined a sacrifice fly to center to score Juan Pierre from third.

The Phillies got another scoreless inning from their bullpen in the 8th, this time from veteran Jose Contreras, in what was hit best outing thus far since returning from the DL, in my opinion, as he showed good velocity and a nasty splitter.

Jimmy Rollins then put things out of reach in the 9th as he drilled a homer into the second deck in right field - his third hit of the night, a positive sign for the struggling shortstop - to put the Phils up 7-3. Wigginton doubled home Pierre to make it 8-3, and Victorino delivered a 2-run single through a drawn-in infield to cap off the six-run outburst, pushing the lead to 10-3.

Lee scattered seven hits and allowed three runs while striking out seven, and remains winless through eight starts this season. The Phils at least scored some runs for him, albeit after he was removed from the game.

Rollins and Pierre combined for six hits and three runs scored as the tablesetters in Manuel's lineup tonight, with Pierre raising his average to .324 on the season, as he has been a pleasant surprise offensively.

Wigginton finished off his big series against his former team with two more extra-base hits and two more RBI's, giving him eight over the three games in New York.

The Phils return home and open a three-game set on Friday against the Miami Marlins, who finished up their May schedule tonight with a win over Washington to raise their record to 21-8 for the month.
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