I said last night at the end of my recap that the run scoring in tonight's ball game would be at a minimum. With two well-known hurlers like Cole Hamels and Gio Gonzalez taking the hill for their respective ball clubs, many fans of the game would have probably made the same prediction. And, through, the first four innings, it seemed to be headed that way. However, one pitcher would give up quite a few runs on a single swing, while the other ran into trouble late and had to give way to his bullpen.
The Nationals got onto the scoreboard first, making some early noise against Cole Hamels. Denard Span began the game by lining a single into center field. After Span stole second, he advanced to third on a wild pitch by Hamels. Ryan Zimmerman walked to put runners on the corners, giving Jayson Werth an RBI opportunity. He was able to lift a ball to Cesar Hernandez into center field that became a sacrifice fly, and gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
Nothing would score in the next three and a half innings, but the Phillies would generate most of their offense in the fifth inning. With one out in the frame, John Mayberry Jr. was able to send a ball into the left field seats for a solo homerun that tied the ballgame at 1. Cole Hamels and Cesar Hernandez each singled to follow Mayberry. And after Jimmy Rollins flied out next, Chase Utleyould walk to load the bases for the hottest hitting Phillie: Carlos Ruiz. Chooch would rope a ball into right field that would one-hop off the base of the wall. All three runners would score, and Ruiz would have a bases-clearing, 3 RBI double. This would give the Phillies a 4-1 lead.
The top of the seventh inning saw Ian Krol come on in relief of Gio Gonzalez. He immediately surrendered a double off the bad of Jimmy Rollins. A wild pitch would allow Rollins to move to third, and an Utley single would bring him home to extend the lead to 5-1.
Cole Hamels would also see his night end in the seventh inning. He allowed three consecutive singles to Scott Hairston, Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman to load the bases with nobody out. Justin De Fratus would be called upon to clean up the mess. He was able to get Werth to ground into a fielder's choice that nabbed Hairston at the plate. However, Ian Desmond recorded a sacrifice fly to bring in a run. Cesar Jimenez would come in next, and allowed a single to the only batter he faced, Bryce Harper. The single would turn into a two-RBI hit when Cesar Hernandez over-ran the ball in center. B.J. Rosenberg and Domonic Brown were both then brought into the game, and Rosenberg struck out Wilson Ramos to end the inning.
Jonathan Papelbon would be brought in to face Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, and Ian Desmond. Zimmerman would lace a leadoff double into left field. Werth and Desmond each flew out, and Bryce Harper was intentionally walked to bring Wilson Ramos to the plate. A hopping ball up the middle was excellently played by Jimmy Rollins to record the final out of the game, and the Phillies hung on for a 5-4 win. Cole Hamels was, once again, fantastic for the Phillies. The bullpen, though shaky, kept the team in it, and other than Hernandez's shaky play, the team made few mistakes. Tomorrow will be the rubber match of the series, when Tyler Cloyd takes on Jordan Zimmermann at 1:35.