A Phillies Sweep as Heard Through Sporadic Updates at PPL Park

A Phillies Sweep as Heard Through Sporadic Updates at PPL Park

I wasn't able to see the Phils' win over the Marlins last night to close out the sweep. The Union had a home game, so I was at PPL Park watching them fall to a superior Columbus Crew side. Fortunately, the commenter known as Swift sits a few rows in front of me, and as he has in previous "schedule conflict" games, he shouted out score updates from the Phils. 

The update that came when JC Romero was charged with two runs without retiring a batter in the seventh was a little painful. We later found out that he'd also allowed two of Roy Oswalt's runs to score, including a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded after an IBB. It was at least a relief to hear that Oswalt had improved on his first start with the team, but man did he get screwed on that one. 

In the parking lot, fans waited out the traffic and huddled around open car doors to hear extra innings. The Franzke call on Chooch's 10th inning homer while sitting in the car with the AC blasting after standing outside all night was "relief" defined. 

Another Philly sports fan tattoo after the jump.

We weren't sure what had gotten the Phils back even with the Marlins to force extras, nor what LA was talking about when he made reference to a wild ninth inning, with all three rally-killing Phillies outs coming on the basepaths, then how an umpiring mistake and a little luck kept the game alive.  

Catching the recap at home, we couldn't help but laugh at the outcome for the Marlins and cringe at the Phils' wasted efforts in the top of the ninth. The Marlins were clearly screwed by a terrible call in the ninth, and despite the Phillies having choked away a rally, it was all even heading into the tenth. Chooch, knowing full well what it takes to be a WFC, has put the team on his back lately. His double in the sixth inning plated the game's first two runs, and it was his second of the game. With three hits on the night, Ruiz is just two points shy of a .300 average. 

The Braves won too, while the Mets were inactive. Winners of four straight and 12 of their last 14 amidst a terrible battle with the DL, the Phils just two games back of first place. They're doing far better lately than the expected "hang in there, weather the storm while key players are out." It wasn't pretty last night, but sometimes it helps to win ugly and have a reminder that it doesn't always take being perfect. 

As for the Union game... The Crew looked great throughout up much of it, clearly a more cohesive side than the Union. PPL Park had a great crowd last night, 18,001, and there was a lot of energy throughout the place, not just in the River End. But it took a penalty kick by Seba Le Toux to get them on the board at all, and they had trouble marking the Crew's Steven Lenhart all night. Lenhart put two in the net. No big deal, the expansion side lost to a first place team. 

I haven't heard why, but the Union started the game shooting on the River End, whereas they usually defend that side first. Don't like. Put it back how it was, Union. 

Today's fan ink courtesy of commenter Aaron. Utley would be proud.

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).