It was up to Philadelphia Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.91) to stop the two game losing streak, and give the offense a chance to get back on track against the Chicago White Sox RHP James Shields (5-15, 5.98).
Jerad did his job, holding Chicago to 2 runs in 6 innings. The pen and as much offense as the last three games combined, did the rest, on the way to a 5-3 win, to split the 2 game series
In the 1st inning it was very refreshing to see a Phillies starter only throw 9 pitches. The offense followed that good start by scoring with two outs on a double by Tommy Joseph (11), followed by a single by Aaron Altherr. Freddy Galvis (21) then hit a gapper for a double, abetted by a bad route by Adam Eaton, which easily scored Alther to make it 2-0 Phillies. Eickhoff again had a quick – this time 11 pitches – inning, for the SDI. What a difference a night makes as tonight the Phillies kept the hits coming in the 3rd inning w/ a lead-off HR by Cesar Hernandez (5), that went from looking like a lazy FO, to a HR over the LF wall to increase the lead to 3-0. Another SDI followed for Jerad on 14 pitches. Eickhoff finally gave up a hit in the 4th, but just another smooth DP turned by Galvis and Hernandez, followed by a FO kept him to the minimum batters.
While Eickhoff kept baffling the Sox batters, Shields had settled down pretty well until Joseph (17) sent a two out 0-2 knuckle curve high over the RCF wall to make it 4-0 in the 6th.
The White Sox finally got to Eickhoff, who seems to lose focus late in games, in the bottom half of the inning, when Dioner Navarro hit a 2 run HR. After giving up another hit, he settled down to get the next three batters to preserve the 2 run lead. Even after his first rough inning he still had only thrown 71 pitches, 41 for strikes, but Pete Mackanin pulled him anyway, so his line ended at 6In, 4H, 2R, both earned, 0BB, 2K, 1HR. Mackanin said after the game that he “wanted him out on a positive note.” Shields night was also done after 6 In, 7H, 4R, all earned, 0BB, 6K, 2HR, 109 pitches, 66 for strikes.
In the 8th, Ryan Howard singled off a LH reliever to start the inning, and was PR by Emmanuel Burriss. Then after a walk of Cameron Rupp, Altherr singled to score Burriss for a big insurance run making it 5-2.
Eickhoff got the W (9-12, 3.87) and Sheilds the L (5-16, 5.98) Edubray Ramos (13). Hector Neris(27) and Jeanmar Gomez( 34) each did their jobs to earn the H’s and S respectively, though Gomez made it interesting giving up a run and had the winning run come to the plate with 2 outs.
Lasts and Firsts and In Betweens: Ryan Howard (1-5 with all balls put in play and a single off a LH reliever) in the lineup tonight has now officially played in every MLB park as an MLB player – he had played here in a Futures game in 2003 while still on the Clearwater team. Joseph’s HR in the 6th was the first one given up by Shields on an 0-2 pitch this season. Phils are 40-23 when scoring first. Gomez’ 34th Save ties Ricky Botallico and Tom Gordon for 8th best single season record. Next up is Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon with 38.
Next Ups: The Phillies have their second off day of the week as they travel to NYC to play the Mets. LHP Adam Morgan(1-7, 6.21) will face the ageless RHP Bartolo Colon (11-3, 3.36) on Friday @ 7:10.