Through one inning, it didn't look much like Phillies starter Roy Oswalt was going to get off his recent losing skid this Sunday afternoon. But, veteran that he is, he brushed off that three-run frame and was dominant the rest of the way, shutting out the Cubs for six innings. Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson both turned in scoreless frames, and the Phils offense gave Oswalt just enough for the 4-3 win.
Oswalt didn't appear to have much on his fastball early on both in terms of zip and placement, and the Cubs found his changeup appealing as well. Starlin Castro roped an RBI double, and Aramis Ramirez put one just over the left field wall to put the Phillies in an early hole.
The Fightins got one back in the bottom of the first, with Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley both singling, followed by a Ryan Howard RBI double. Howard had a big day at the plate, notching three hits and three RBI, and drawing a walk in his only other at bat. Facing lefty Sean Marshall with the Phils down 3-2 in the seventh, he worked a great at bat and laced the go-ahead single up the middle to score Vic and Utley.
STUTES BREWING COMPANY
Oswalt's day was done at that point, and Stutes came in just blew away Castro, Carlos Pena, and Aramis Ramirez, who fouled out, struck out and struck out, respectively. In a high-pressure situation against some talented hitters, Stutes came up huge.
Madson got two quick outs in the ninth, but gave us a few palpitations with a single and looooonnnng foul ball before finally inducing the game's final out with no damage done. Geovanny Soto sent a flare into shallow right with Dom Brown deep in a no-doubles defense, but Chase tracked it down and made a beautiful catch to end it.
Oswalt was the biggest story in this one though. After a rough first, he took advantage of a free-swinging Cubs lineup, allowing just one more hit the rest of the way and retiring seven straight before handing the ball over to his very capable bullpen arms.
There was some frustration at the plate today, including the Phils being unable to crank out a big inning against a pitcher who was almost begging for one. Doug Davis, still winless on the season, issued five walks and five hits, but the Phils couldn't do much damage despite twice loading the bases. The good news is, they weren't completely shut out in those innings, grabbing a run in each on the strength of some good at bats by the heart of the lineup.
The Phils have won back-to-back series since dropping a pair to the Nats and Pirates, and they're the first team in baseball to hit the 40-win mark.
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