David Ortiz took a mighty hack, and the FOX broadcast cut to center field where Shane Victorino was tracking the fly ball. As the Flyin' Hawaiian approached the wall, chasing as if he might leap the fence to bring this one back, pursuit finally gave way to surrender. The ball vanished into the ivy as if it never landed, eliciting a resigned "Where did that one go?"
It was Boston's fourth home run of the game, each one seemingly deeper than the last, and it was the moon shot that would finally put them over the top. If any of these guys are gonna be the Home Run Derby this July, they might consider enlisting the services of Joe Blanton, as he was on the hook for all of 'em in Saturday's 7-5 loss. The Phillies' win streak ends on six.
Blanton only lasted four and a third in his worst start of the year by far. He didn't do himself any favors defensively either, dropping a sure out at first, and mishandling another potential play by the bag. Charlie Manuel nearly pinch hit for him during the bottom of the fourth, but a Freddy Galvis two-run home run drew the Fightins back within one, and out Blanton went to bat in a 5-4 contest.
The Phils had five players with multiple hits, and two more who reached base, so the lead was not exactly insurmountable. They faltered in the clutch though, going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Still, five runs ought to be enough to win most nights.
The other bright spot was the bullpen. Raul Valdes, Joe Savery, and Jose Contreras combined for 4.2 innings of scoreless ball, giving the Phillies a chance right up to the end. They can still have the last laugh today in the CBP series finale at 1:35. We'll take a look at the pitching match-up and lineup a little later on.
Seniors Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins combined for 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and No. 1 Villanova held off Providence, 78-68, in a Big East game at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday afternoon.
Villanova extended a four-point halftime lead to as much as 20 points before hot-shooting Providence closed to within nine with five minutes left. Villanova then went on a 13-3 run to put the game out of reach.
Hart had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Wildcats, and Jenkins added 19 points, four boards and four assists. Both shot over 50 percent.
Sophomore Mikal Bridges scored 15 points, matching his Big East career high, and also had three rebounds and three assists, and Jalen Brunson contributed 13 points to go with three rebounds and four assists.
Providence stayed in the game by shooting 13 for 26 from three against the No. 3 three-point shooting defense in Division 1.
What it means
Villanova improved to 19-1 overall and 7-1 and in first place in the Big East. The Wildcats have won five in a row since losing at Butler on Jan. 4.
Providence fell to 13-8 and 3-5 in the conference and 1-6 on the road. The Friars have lost six of eight since an 11-2 start.
Villanova is now 47-34 all-time at the Wells Fargo Center but 14-2 in its last 16 games at the South Philly arena.
Stat of the day
Providence shot better from three (50 percent) than two (44 percent). The Friars made 13 threes and just nine two-pointers.
Providence trailed by just four at halftime at 35-31, but Bridges opened the second half with a steal and fast-break reverse layup and a jumper from the top of the key to start an 8-0 run that gave Villanova a 12-point lead. The Friars never got any close than eight points the rest of the game.
By the numbers
• Providence’s 50 percent shooting from three is the highest against ‘Nova since North Carolina shot 65 percent in the national championship game on April 4 in Houston.
• Villanova’s bench scored just two points.
• Providence’s 13 threes are the most by a Big East team against Villanova since Doug McDermott and Creighton had 21 in a 28-point win three years ago this week.
• Rodney Bullock led Providence with 17 points (3 for 5 from three), Jalen Lindsey added 14 (4 for 7 from three) and Isaiah Jackson came off the bench to score 12 (3 for 3 from three).
• Darryl Reynolds' last two double-digit rebound games have both been against Providence.
Villanova travels to Milwaukee for a Tuesday night game against Marquette. The Golden Eagles are 12-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big East with a game later Saturday at Creighton.
Villanova has won nine straight games against Marquette, since the Golden Eagles — then ranked No. 17 — came back from 18 points down to win 82-78 at the Wells Fargo Center in January 2012.