Keep On Swingin': Phils Ride Huge Eighth to 10-2 Win

Keep On Swingin': Phils Ride Huge Eighth to 10-2 Win

If you suffered through six innings of silence at the plate, I hope you stayed up for the final three. Both pitchers had their way most of the night, with Roy Halladay and Kyle McLellan combining to allow only one run through six innings. Doc left the game for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh with the Phillies down by a run, and as much as it may have hurt to lift him, Charlie Manuel was rewarded with a clutch pinch hit by Ross Gload to tie the game.

After that, the Phils got real comfortable at Ryan's House. With a gracious parade of hosts coming out of the Cardinals' bullpen, the Phillies helped themselves to an nine-run eighth inning, powering their way to a 10-2 final. It was a pretty interesting ride, too... More on the Phils' big eighth, with illustrative pop culture subheads, after the jump.

Carlos Ruiz led the way all night, even when the rest of the bats were still asleep. Chooch finished up with a 4-4 showing, plus a walk that he'd later score on as part of the bloodletting that was the eighth inning.

After Gload singled in Raul Ibanez to tie the game in the sixth, with Chooch drawing attention on the base paths and preventing a throw to the plate (although ultimately ending the inning), Mike Stutes allowed a go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh. Tony LaRussa also had success in hitting for his pitcher, with Mark Hamilton singling to move Daniel Descalso over to third, and Skip Schumaker knocking him in.

HOME INVASION
McLellan watched from the dugout as the eighth inning began with a 2-1 Cardinals lead. Then, like a man witnessing his house be robbed over a closed-circuit television, he watched as five different St. Louis relievers were assaulted for five hits, four walks, two HBPs, and NINE runs.

EVERYBODY HATES JASON
The second of the two Cardinals out of the pen was Jason Motte, who did his best John Lannan impression, hitting the only two batters he faced, Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco. The Howard HBP (which was not happy about) loaded the bases, and the Polly plunk tied the game at 2. It was a scary moment though, with the pitch hitting him in the hand. X-rays were said to be negative after the game, and Polanco said he thinks he can play on Wednesday night.

After Motte was sent, we hope, to hell, three other relievers came in, and none could stop what had been started. Ben Francisco singled in the go-ahead run, Chooch walked hard, plating Howard, followed by Michael Martinez also drawing an RBBI. Yes, in the same inning, the Cardinals bullpen allowed a back-to-back HBPs to load the bases and score a run, and back-to-back run-scoring walks. Implosion.

MERCY IS FOR THE WEAK
Jimmy Rollins then reminded us of the immortal words of John Kreese, singling in a pair of runs. After a Shane Victorino walk (at this point it was hard not to point and laugh at the Cardinals), Chase Utley poked a single through the gap into left, scoring another pair of runs. Howard joined the party again, singling in Victorino to bring the Phillies' total to double digits.

After Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless eighth, the Phils again threatened in the ninth… well, I should say, the Cards again threatened to allow more runs, with an error and a walk coming after Ruiz singled, but Maikel Cleto ultimately got out of the inning unscathed. David Herndon struck out two in the ninth on his way to a perfect frame to put us all to bed.

Overshadowed by the schadenfreudetastic comeback here was a fine start by Halladay, who oddly walked the leadoff man and the third hitter he faced, but struck out four in the first three innings and five total, then allowed only four hits in his six frames.

It wasn't the easiest night on either team's fans, with the Cards contingent watching a massacre in the eighth, and Phillies fans riding the roller coaster from "offensive ineptitude" to "ya just can't count this team out." Could be in for an interest couple of games to finish out the series.

Photo by Scott Rovak, US Presswire

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).