J.A. Happ, the former Phillies starter who was flipped for Roy Oswalt, started the game last night for the Toronto Blue Jays, and gave his former team all sorts of trouble in his return to the city he started his career in. In five innings of work, Happ allowed no runs in what would become a combined shutout for Toronto. With the 3-0 loss, Philadelphia fell to .500 once again at 15-15, although with no fault going to the pitchers this time around. With two interleague games on the road upcoming, it was vital that they left home having at least split the series with the Jays. In his third start of the season, Cole Hamels sought his first victory of the season for the Phillies, while Drew Hutchison stepped in for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Game: It took until just the second inning for the scoring to begin. Edwin Encarnacion recorded his third homerun of the season, a solo shot that gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. The Canadian threat returned in the fourth inning, flag-shipped by a leadoff Jose Bautista double. Encarnacion added a single of his own to put two runners on behind Hamels. Having moved up to third on the single, Bautista scored on Juan Francisco's ground out to Chase Utley at second. Two more runs would score later when Colby Rasmus batted his eighth homerun of the season to move the score to 4-0 Toronto.
Cole Hamels would continue to pitch into the sixth inning. In that frame, Steve Tolleson doubled home Juan Francisco to push the score to 5-0. The sixth would be Hamels' final inning, leaving having given up five earned runs and ten hits. He was on the hook for the loss, as his offense failed to score runs in each of the first five innings. In the bottom half of that inning, though, Carlos Ruiz got things moving with a leadoff double. Utley followed with a single, setting up Ryan Howard for success. He came through by singling into center field, scoring the Phillies first run in over 20 innings.
Now with two on, the Phillies had something brewing. However, both Marlon Byrd and Domonic Brown made outs, throwing some water on the fire. John Mayberry Jr. came in as a pinch hitter, walking to load the bases. Up next was Cody Asche, who's struggles thus far in the season were highly noted. On just the second pitch of the at bat, Asche made a huge statement, hitting the ball just over the right field wall for a grand slam. The crowd was sent into a frenzy, even earning a curtain call. He'd finish the ballgame with four hits.
The game moved into the ninth still tied at five a side. Jonathan Papelbon had another successful inning, shuting down the Jays in the top half of the inning. The Phillies had a chance in the bottom half, after Asche singled and moved up to third. However, Revere could not Asche home, and the game went into extras.
Antonio Bastardo was called upon for the tenth inning, and immediately allowed a single to Melky Cabrera. Jose Bautista beat the shift to single as well, putting runners on the corners. After getting Encarnacion to pop up, a wild pitch ruined any chance at a double play. With runners now on second and third, Juan Francisco's rather shallow fly out to center field became a sacrifice fly that gave Toronto a 6-5 advantage.
In the bottom of the tenth, the Phillies offense had no answer for the Jay's bullpen, and were held scoreless to finish the game at the 6-5 score. The Phillies were swept in the quick two game home-and-home series.
Impact: This game's biggest performer was, by far, Cody Asche. Despite the loss, Asche was 4-for-4 with that grand slam. He's now hitting .257 on the season, and has been solid at third base. Perhaps this was the confidence booster Asche needed to become the player the team thought he'd become.
Up Next: This interleague home-and-home series moves up north of the border tomorrow, where Mark Buehrle gets the ball for Toronto. Cliff Lee takes the mound for the Phillies in the 7:07 start.