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Thursday, October 02, 2008

NLCS Game 2: Phillies 5, Brewers 2

Top 1st: Brett Myers got Mike Cameron to strike out looking on three pitches, but then loaded the bases and gave up the go-ahead run on a walk to J.J. Hardy. He finally got out of the inning with a 1-2-3 double play, but the Brew Crew has the early 1-0 lead.

Bottom 1st: With one out, Shane Victorino gets a grounder to bounce off the third base bag and into foul territory for a double. With Chase Utley at bat, Victorino steals third, but Utley strikes out, and C.C. Sabathia makes it back-to-back whiffs on Ryan Howard to preserve the Brewers' lead.

Bottom 2nd: Jayson Werth gets the Phils' second double, this time a screaming line drive in the left-center gap. It's the second hard-hit ball of the game against Sabathia, as Pat Burrell made an out at the warning track on a hard-hit ball. Pedro Feliz ties up the game 1-1 with a double of his own, and there's still only one out.

Sabathia gets Carlos Ruiz to bounce out to first, Feliz going to third on the play, but then walks the pitcher Myers after a protracted battle. All of a sudden, Sabathia can't throw strikes, and he walks Jimmy Rollins on four straight. Sabathia then grooves a 1-2 pitch to Shane Victorino, who empties it into the seats to make it 5-1 Phillies for a grand slam. It's the most runs Sabathia has given up since April 16, and it's looking like all those games pitched on three days rest are starting to catch up to him.

Bottom 3rd: After making the first two outs fairly easily, Sabathia gives up another gap double to Werth, who immediately steals third. Feliz strikes out, but Sabathia clearly has reached some kind of limit; he's thrown 72 pitches after only three frames, and he's missing the strike zone a lot.

Bottom 4th: After his rough first inning, Myers has settled down and cruised through the next three frames, the only baserunner allowed being hit batter Cory Hart in the top of the 4th. Sabathia continues to struggle, winning a ten-pitch at-bat with Myers in the bottom of the frame, but then gives up a double to Jimmy Rollins. Chastened, Sabathia intentionally walks Victorino to face Chase Utley with 92 pitches in the rear view mirror. Seth McClung gets the Brewers out of the frame, but for the first time, Sabathia looks really vulnerable.

Bottom 5th: McClung manages to squeak out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam by getting Jimmy Rollins to line out to Prince Fielder. It reminds you of his days with the Devil Rays.

Top 7th: Myers gives up his first baserunner since the fourth with a broken bat double to J.J. Hardy to lead off. Corey Hart flies out to deep right, which allows Hardy to tag and reach third. That brings slap-hitting Craig Counsell to the plate, and he cashes in Hardy with a scoring groundout to second, making it 5-2 Phillies. Jason Kendall bounces out to second to end the frame, but this late in the game, a three-run lead is a pretty big margin.

Top 8th: Myers' day is over, as Ryan Madsen comes in to replace him; he gets two batters despite Ricky Weeks reaching on a leadoff error by Jimmy Rollins. That's all for him, and J.C. Romero then retires Fielder on the first pitch for the final out.

Bottom 8th: Eric Gagne retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh, and now it's Solomon Torres' turn to hold the Phils down. He gives up a single to leadoff man Rollins, and then has a tough assignment in facing Victorino, who has not been retired yet. Rollins erases himself on a 2-5 caught stealing, and in the next pitch, Victorino pops out to third. Torres then strikes out Chase Utley to end the frame; the Brewers will get to face Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth.

Top 9th: Lidge gets J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart out on five pitches, and Milwaukee is left hoping Craig Counsell can get it done. Counsell flies out to Victorino — the centerpiece of this game, who also picked up the first grand slam ever by a Philly in the postseason — to nail down a 2-0 advantage over the Brewers.

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