It wasn't a walk off or even the game winner, but Placido Polanco's 2000th career hit was a memorable one. In the bottom of the eighth on a soggy evening at Citizens Bank Park, Polly deposited the 1-0 offering from David Carpenter into the flowerbeds in left center. A two-run blast that otherwise amounted to little more than insurance for the Phillies in their 5-1 victory over the Astros went into the books a milestone.
Polanco became the 17th active player to reach 2,000 hits, one part of an all-around productive night for the All-Star third baseman. He also drew a walk after fouling three pitches off his foot during a gritty at bat in the second inning, and twice reached on a fielder's choice, scoring both times. The home run was his first since September 10, 2011.
Spread over two stints, Polanco has spent parts of seven seasons with Philadelphia during his 15-year big league career. He's amassed 732 hits while wearing red pinstripes -- 36.6% of his 2,000 -- and is 75 hits away from surpassing his total in a Detroit Tigers uniform.
The bottom half of the Phillies order delivered along with Polly on Monday night. Batting out of the five spot for only the third time in his career, Carlos Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Chooch kept the inning alive for Polanco in the eighth with his two-out single, otherwise he might be stuck on 1,999. John Mayberry added two hits, and Freddy Galvis had three, including a pair of RBI singles.
Yet perhaps the real story of the game was Joe Blanton, who battled the elements to pick up his fourth win of 2012. Heavy B pitched seven scoreless innings, and went out to start the eighth, but was quickly pulled after surrendering a lead-off bomb to pinch hitter Marwin Gonzalez. Still a strong outing for Blanton, who allowed six hits and walked one while striking out seven. Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, and Jonathan Papelbon closed out the eighth and ninth.
Blanton is now 4-3 on the season with a 2.96 ERA. He's unbeaten in his last four appearances, three of those victories, lowering his ERA from 4.34 in the process.
It's still raining, and the forecast calls for more on Tuesday, so it's possible the 1 p.m. start will either be delayed or postponed. The hope here is it won't break up this club's rhythm -- the Phillies have taken two straight for the first time since April 30-May 1. Whenever they take the diamond next, it'll be with a chance at their first three-game winning streak of the season.