Ryan Howard’s 12th home run of the season helped the Phillies beat the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. (USA Today Images)
On a day more fitting for a water bird, the Philadelphia Phillies finally broke their 9 game losing streak by edging the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, saving them from being swept in this home and home series.
It looked like just another tough day as the O’s score 1st on Manny Machado‘s 2nd lead-off HR of the 4 game set – his 3rd lead off of the season. Phillies starters have been regularly throwing a lot of pitches in the 1st inning, 24 today, making it hard for them to even come close to completing a game, much less eating up innings, but Sean O’Sullivan managed to strike out the side mixed in w/ a walk and a double. He settled down after that giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 earned run while striking out 7, a career high, before being pulled after only 5 innings and 80 pitches.
In another recurring theme the Phils then managed to get multiple base runners the next inning, but still have nothing to show for it as Ben Revere‘s lead-off single is erased by Chase Utley‘s DP ground ball, and then yet another 2 out base runner on a walk by Maikel Franco, is left stranded.
The Phils had a base runner every inning through the 4th, but none bigger than a single, and just could not get the extra hit to bring him home each time, until the 6th inning when Ryan Howard finally comes through w/ a 2 run blast to right field, scoring Revere who lead off w/ a single. That blow gave them their 1st full inning w/ a lead since June 7th.
Luis Garcia follows w/ a tough shut down inning after the throwing error by Utley makes it 1st and 3rd one out, striking out Machado and Travis Snider.
Jake Diekman, just called up from Lehigh Valley, relieved O’Sullivan earning the win – his 1st of the season – w/ a scoreless 6th, and for the 1st time since the same June 7th game, Ken Giles (who actually went 1.2 and earned the W in that one) and Jonathan Papelbon get a chance to do what they get paid for. Both easily did their jobs in the 8th and 9th for an almost quiet end to the losing streak.
Howard seemed subdued but relieved after the game.
“Nobody comes to the field every day to lose,” Howard said. “We’re all coming in with a positive attitude. We’re trying to go out there and do what we need to do to win and we haven’t been able to come through. Today, take it, savor it and try to bring it back and do it again tomorrow.”
The Phillies avoided being swept in four consecutive series of two or more games for the first time since Sept. 20-29, 1985
The Cardinals come to town tomorrow for a 3 game series, but Cole Hamels will not get the start as scheduled in the 1st game, getting an extra turn to rest a strained hamstring. Phillippe Aumont will be called up to fill in. Aumont was good his 1st 5 starts but not so much lately. On May 23, he set an IronPigs record with most walks in a start,8, and over his previous five outings, he has walked 25.