Phillies, Manuel Establish Franchise Records

Phillies, Manuel Establish Franchise Records

Should they fail to capture another World Championship this year, 102 wins will be nothing more than a consolation prize, but by virtue of that total, the Phillies have already ensured 2011 will be remembered as a special season.

With a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves in 13 innings, the Fightins have once again soared to new heights, setting a franchise record for regular season success, and eliminating their division rival from playoff contention in the process.

And the icing on the cake? Charlie Manuel shares a personal milestone with the club's milestone, surpassing Gene Mauch as the organization's all-time winningest manager on the same night.

While it took Mauch nine seasons to reach 645 wins, Charlie eclipsed
that in just seven during this unprecedented era.
Congratulations are in order to a manager who has earned the right to be
called the best in franchise history.

Atlanta led the game for much of the night, but closer Craig Kimbrel couldn't finish the job in the ninth. The rookie entered with 46 saves for the season, but he only managed one out while loading the bases on a single and two walks. Chase Utley tied the score with a sac fly, bringing across Pete Orr, who was running for Placido Polanco after the third basemen led off the inning with a base hit.

The Phillies bullpen kept the game knotted up long enough for Hunter Pence to hit the game winner in the top of the 13th.

After drawing a free pass, Brian Schneider was on the move with the count full and two outs when Utley slapped one past a diving Dan Uggla, advancing the runner to third. Atlanta opted to pitch to Pence with second base open and Michael Martinez on deck, and the right fielder nubbed an infield bloop between second and first that left the defense no chance for a play.

As impressive as 102 wins are though, the Phillies have more baseball ahead.

Unlike the Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals took care of their business on Wednesday night, defeating the Houston Astros 8-0 to secure the Wild Card berth. They earned the right to face Philadelphia in the NLDS, which begins on Saturday.

While the regular season achievements are ultimately meaningless to most fans, there should be genuine enthusiasm about how they finished. They could have packed it in at any point tonight, but instead they fought back from a deficit, as they so often do, and took their opponent to the limit.

In fact, any discussion of a late season collapse looks to have been premature. The Phillies ended on a high note, taking a road sweep against a desperate ball club that needed every one of these games.

Let's hope they are ready to make even more history.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Tommy Joseph won it with a single up the middle with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. The hit scored Aaron Altherr, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.

The Phils have won just six of their last 27 games. Joseph has had a walk-off, game-winning hit in the last two wins.

In addition to Joseph, who also homered, the star of the game was the Phillies' bullpen. Four Phils' relievers combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings after starter Jerad Eickhoff exited. The Phillies' bullpen is riding a 19 2/3-innings scoreless streak.

Starting pitching report
Eickhoff allowed eight hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up a bunt hit and a two-run homer to the first two batters of the game but took a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff single and a one-out RBI double in that inning as the Reds tied the game at 3-3.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo, back in action at age 40 after recovering from surgery the last two seasons, gave up three runs — all on solo homers — over five innings.

Bullpen report
Good work by Edubray Ramos to get two outs in the sixth to strand a runner in scoring position and preserve a 3-3 tie. Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris each followed with a scoreless inning. Neris struck out dangerous Joey Votto on a splitter with a man on base to end the top of the ninth. He got the win.

Austin Brice pitched two scoreless innings for the Reds. Michael Lorenzen took the loss. He gave up two hits in the ninth. Joseph's game-winning hit came on a 97 mph heater.

At the plate
Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders and Joseph all clouted solo homers for the Phillies. Joseph has six homers in his last 21 games.

Zack Cozart smacked a two-run homer against Eickhoff in the first inning. The Reds tied the game on a one-out double by Scooter Gennett in the sixth.

Remembering Bunning
Jim Bunning died Friday night. Larry Bowa recalled the impact that the Hall of Famer had on his career (see story).

Up next
The series concludes Sunday afternoon. Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.36) and Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.99) are the pitchers.

Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

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Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

The Soul on Saturday survived a late scare and moved to 7-0 on the season with a 48-47 win over the Washington Valor at Verizon Center.

With 41 seconds left, the Valor scored a touchdown and appeared poised to tie up the game. However, a fumbled snap led to a failed extra-point attempt and the Soul promptly recovered the ensuing onside kick.

"It’s hard to win a game in arena football, but we'll take them any way we can," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told the team's official website. "We are definitely happy with 7-0 and looking forward to this bye week to get healed up and ready to finish the second half of the season." 

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the way with 148 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan McDaniel led the team with four receptions, racking up 49 yards, while Darius Reynolds had 54 yards on three receptions. Each receiver reeled in two touchdown catches while Shaun Kauleinamoku accounted for the fifth score.

Running back Mykel Benson ran in a one-yard touchdown while Chirs Duvalt returned a kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown before halftime.

The Soul have a bye week before returning to the Wells Fargo Center on June 10 to face the Cleveland Gladiators.