As has been the case for the last couple of seasons, the Phillies are struggling against the Toronto Blue Jays. They're struggling mightily. A single inning of scoring runs will never be sufficient against any opponent. In the hopes of salvaging at least the early part of their season, the team went into Thursday nights game with one mission: play better. A win wasn't even 100% necessary. But as a unit, this squad has looked atrocious (aside from Marlon Byrd), and needed to come out looking improved. They had an arm on the mound that would hopefully lead them to better luck in the form of A.J. Burnett. On the other hand, they had to face a guy that has given them issues for the last handful of seasons. Knuckleballing R.A. Dickey took to the bump to steer his team toward a four-game home-and-home series sweep.
The Game: To the pleasure of anyone in and around this Phillies roster, the team was able to score in more than one inning in this game. The first of those scores came in the second inning, where the hot-handed Marlon Byrd singled into center field to get things started. After a wild pitch allowed him to advance a base, Domonic Brown fought off a 3-2 pitch into left field for an RBI double.
A second run for the Phillies advanced home in the fifth. Much like the second inning, it began with a single and an extra base on a wild pitch. This time though, it was Tony Gwynn Jr. leading it off, and Jimmy Rollins following next. He would line a ball back out into center field to bring Gwynn home. Some nearly lost their breath when the team scored AGAIN in the seventh. J-Roll was again involved, doubling out toward Jose Bautista. Chase Utley stood in next, and lifted a ball just out of the reach of Colby Rasmus. It turned out to be a triple, which earned him an RBI and the Phillies third run of the night.
And, to top things off, they would double their score in the ninth inning. A Freddy Galvis walk led things off, but two straight outs made by Gwynn and Rollins seemed to spell the end. However, Galvis came home when a Ben Revere single caught up Steve Tollefson. Revere then stole his eleventh base of the season with Ryan Howard at the plate. Howard then lifted his team by collecting his seventh homerun of the season. The team now had six runs.
This all sounds great. Six runs in nine innings is enough for A.J. Burnett, who's been dominant this year. Well, on most nights it is. The problem was, well, this:
Edwin Encarnacion homers (5) on a fly ball to left center field.
Adam Lind grounds out, 1B Ryan Howard to pitcher A. J. Burnett. Juan Francisco scores.
Colby Rasmus homers (9) on a fly ball to right field.
Jose Bautista out on a sacrifice fly to center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. Jose Reyes scores.
Jose Bautista grounds out, shortstop Freddy Galvis to 1B Ryan Howard. Jose Reyes scores.
Adam Lind homers (2) on a fly ball to left field. Juan Francisco scores.
Edwin Encarnacion homers (6) on a fly ball to left field. Jose Bautista scores.
Juan Francisco homers (5) on a fly ball to left center field.
Melky Cabrera triples (3) on a line drive to CF Ben Revere. Tolleson scores. Reyes scores.
For those not wishing to count, that's 12 runs. Burnett was way off his game, and the Blue Jays ran away with a 12-6 victory, sweeping the series.
Impact: Bad. All just very bad. The team is playing terribly, and it must change. Fast.
Up Next: The Phillies head to New York to take on the Mets once again. Roberto Hernandez takes on Jenrry Mejia in what should be a high scoring game tomorrow night at 7:10.