In his first major league start, the day before The Los Angeles Dodgers' Josh Beckett's no-hitter against the Phillies, David Buchanan was nothing less than solid. In an admirable five full innings, the rookie hurler allowed only five hits and two earned runs, enough to secure the victory in front of his entire family. After that Saturday afternoon appearance, though, Buchanan dropped off. Quickly. He gave up his first home run and free pass in his next start, falling to the New York Mets. His next two starts saw David give up a total of eleven earned runs, and his record fell to 1-3. His early major league success faded, that was until his next start. Though it wasn't his greatest outing, his appearance against the Chicago Cubs began to turn things around. Three earned runs in five innings was enough to improve the record to 2-3. It was his game against St. Louis that re-cemented his spot in the rotation. In 7.2 innings, by far his longest outing, Buchanan faced 28 batters, and let just one of them score. With that momentum rolling, the pitcher, and the team, looked to continue the streak into tonight's game against the Miami Marlins.
The Game: Despite a Giancarlo Stanton double, David Buchanan started off well. He'd get some early support, too, in the bottom of the first inning. Jimmy Rollins was hit by an 0-2 slider, and Chase Utley walked with one away to put two runners on. Both runners advanced on stolen bases during Ryan Howard's at bat, and a throwing error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia allowed Rollins to come in and score. Howard would go on to strike out to put two away. Thankfully for the home crowd, Marlon Byrd came through strong. The right fielder connected for his thirteenth home run of the season, a two-run shot that put the team ahead 3-0.
Each team would tack a run on in the second. The Marlins did it with a walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and back-to-back singles by Marcell Ozuna and Garrett Jones. A pop up to Chase Utley off the bat of Ed Lucas may have been the beginning of the end, but Utley's poor fielding from last night continued into tonight, as he dropped the ball. Salty scored for the Marlins, and the infield fly rule was called afterward for out number one. To David Buchanan's credit, he worked through the next three batters to get out of the inning with minimal damage.
A triple from Ben Revere helped the Phillies in the bottom of the inning. A bouncing ball from Andrew Heany that got away from Saltalamacchia allowed Revere to score to move the Phillies back out to a three-run lead. The Marlins scored a second run off Buchanan in the fifth, when he walked Derick Dietrich and allowed a second double to Giancarlo Stanton. Casey McGehee flew out for the sacrifice fly, and the score stood at 4-2. Buchanan would exit after that fifth inning with two runs, six hits, four walks, and two strike outs allowed.
Ryan Howard lead off the sixth with a double, his ninth of the year, and forced Heany out of the game. Bryan Morris entered, and after Marlon Byrd reached on an error, Cody Asche hit his eleventh double of the year to bring both runners home. Another wild pitch for the Marlins brought in the Phillies' seventh run of the game, and they now lead it 7-2.
As they have been lately, the bullpen was fantastic in tonight's contest. After David Buchanan exited following the fifth, a combination of Mario Hollands, Ken Giles, Jake Diekman, and Jonathan Papelbon all provided scoreless time for the Phillies. The lone runs given up by the pen were off of the recently called-up arm of B.J. Rosenberg, as he allowed a two-run home run to Garrett Jones in the eighth. Papelbon recorded the save, and David Buchanan was victorious in the Phillies 7-4 win.
Notable Offensive Performances
Jimmy Rollins: 2-for-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SB
Marlon Byrd: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Cody Asche: 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI
Impact: The best news for the Phillies in this contest was pitching, both in starting and relief. David Buchanan continued the streak of impressive performances for the team's starting pitchers, and the bullpen, save for B.J. Rosenberg, continued to lower their ERA and heighten their dependability. On the offensive side, after being shutout just yesterday, the team together seven runs in a victorious effort. One red light on the last two contests was Chase Utley's performance in the field. He's had three big mistakes (2 errors) in two games, dropping two popups.
Up Next: In Game Three of the four-game set, A.J. Burnett gets to face off against Henderson Alvarez and the Marlins. Game Time is set for 7:05 eastern time.
Andrew Gillen, Managing Editor of Philliedelphia.com