After a horrendous end to the weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays (does that team not sound like a used car salesman since dropping the 'Devil'?), the Phillies got off to a solid start against the Pirates on Monday night. Jimmy Rollins stayed hot and helped lead the Phils' offense in an 8-3 win, leading the game off with a double and hitting a bomb to right for his sixth homer of the month (and seventh since May 29th). Chooch picked up three more "vote for me cotdammit" hits, and Joe Blanton threw seven strong despite again being unable to resist the temptation of the homerun jar.
The Pirates came to town having won six of their last eight and knocking on first place in the NL Central—not at all familiar territory for the Buccos. But in the first inning, they looked like the same old Pirates, committing three throwing errors as the Phils jumped out to a 4-0 lead. In the seventh, reliever Doug Slaten allowed a single before walking three straight batters.
With three games remaining in the series, we probably won't see another win be so nicely giftwrapped, but at least we're talking about the Phillies taking the opportunity they were given, rather than blowing it.
Rollins' homer came on a 3-0 green light, and was a big blast, falling just short of the second deck as it hit the Budweiser sign in right.
Hunter Pence, Polly, and Mike Fontenot each contributed a pair of hits, and five different Phillies were credited with RBI in the win.
Blanton allowed seven hits and a walk in his seven innings, striking out eight and trimming his season ERA down below 5 again. He probably had to tiptoe past Cliff Lee's locker stall after his third win in as many decisions, giving him seven on the season.
Jake Diekman and Chad Qualls gave us a rare night off from skewering the bullpen and its creator, each allowing only a single baserunner and nothing to cross the plate.
Jeff Karstens had an 'ugly' night. Na mean?
The Phils had a pair of errors, but that was only half of the Pirates' total.
A little more than a month ago, Jimmy's name was dragged through the mud. A hot June later, who knows. Maybe Shane Victorino steps it up next? Please?
Chase Utley appears ready to rejoin the team and play in Wednesday night's game. No idea how effective he'll be, but it certainly can't hurt to start getting guys back.
They're still a whopping eight games back in the division, but this is a Phillies season where we need to raise a glass to the wins and selling a share of our cellar stock to the Marlins.
Vance Worley faces veteran lefty Erik Bedard tonight.