Brignac’s Walk-Off Homer Picks Up Brilliant Effort By Hamels

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Phillies Reid Brignac's walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth backed up a brilliant performance by Cole Hamels.

Phillies Reid Brignac’s walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth backed up a brilliant pitching performance by Cole Hamels.

PHILADELPHIA–For eight innings, it was looking like another brilliant outing for Cole Hamels was going by the wayside because of another anemic performance by the Phillies offense, which only had more than two runners on base in just one inning prior to the bottom of the ninth.

Hamels had another gem of a night on the mound for the Phillies. In eight innings, he allowed no runs on five hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts and just one walk while throwing 115 pitches. He also moved past Jim Bunning in sole possession of third place on the Phillies all-time strikeout list.

Thanks to Reid Brignac’s walk-off three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies came away with a 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres on a cool Wednesday night in front of 25,398 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

“(Hamels) was really sharp with his command, real good fast balls, changeups,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.“He’s looking real good and he’s had some good starts for us. ”

While Brignac’s heroics at the plate was definitely important, it was the Phillies pitching that kept the Padres off the scoreboard for the entire game. Closer Jonathan Papelbon got the win in relief, but it was Hamels’ efforts that laid the foundation for this win.

Cole Hamels had a season-high 11 strikeouts in the win over San Diego.

Cole Hamels had a season-high 11 strikeouts in the win over San Diego.

“Cole pitched outstanding tonight and really kept us in the game all night and kept their hitters off balance,” said Brignac, whose last walk-off homer came while he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. “He was the true winner in this game.”

On a night when the Phillies three, four, and five hitters—Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd went a combined 1-for-10—it was the guys near the bottom of the order that got things going in the bottom of the ninth. First, left fielder Domonic Brown got a one-out walk off reliever Nick Vincent, who then hit Carlos Ruiz to put him on first.

With runners on first and second, Brignac then crushed a 2-0 cut fastball into the right field seats to put the game into the win column for a Phillies team that needs to put together a string of wins if they have any hope of getting back into playoff contention.

“It’s all about the team winning,” Hamels said. “No matter who gets the “W” next to their name as long as it’s next to the team, it’s everybody’s. We’re trying to claw tooth and nail to get back to where our potential is and where we feel we need to be to competitive. The opportunities are here we need to take it.”

In the fourth inning, things got a little tough for Hamels when the Padres loaded the bases with two outs. But Hamels shut down the Padres threat by striking out center fielder Cameron Maybin. He said that getting out of that threat was a matter of making good pitches.

“Getting into the game, it’s go time, you just go out and execute,” Hamels said. “I feel like I’ve been able to execute a lot more from start to finish and not giving in, especially when I do get behind. I’m just to trying to execute pitches and not trying to overdo it and force outs. I was able to make good pitches and get good results.”

The Phillies offense for the seven innings couldn’t get anything going off San Diego starter Tyson Ross, who allowed zero runs on four Phillies hits.

Phillies Edge Mets Thanks to Brignac’s Walk-off Single in the 14th

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun


Phillies Reid Brignac' gets a walkoff single to beat the Mets.

Phillies Reid Brignac’ gets a walkoff single to beat the Mets.

PHILADELPHIA— It took all of five hours and 23 minutes, but the Phillies came away with a 6-5 win in 14 innings late Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park thanks to a walk-off RBI single by Reid Brignac that scored Marlon Byrd.

“I had a good feeling,” Brignac said. “I was trying to stay confident and trying to get a good pitch to hit. Luckily (Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia) threw me a cutter that caught a lot of plate and I didn’t miss it.”

On a long night where the winds started blowing from the outfield to home plate, the Phillies should probably thank Mother Nature for the shifting wind patterns. Byrd opened the 14th and hit what looked to be a routine flyball, but Mets rightfielder Chris Young misplayed it and the ball popped out of his glove.

“It looked like he took his eye off the ball at the last second,” Brignac said. “The wind kind of pushed back a bit. That was a play that Chris (Young) makes 10 out of 10 times. He just happened to drop it this one time. You don’t see that often.”

Byrd ended up on second and was moved to the third on a single by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Mejia intentionally walked Cesar Hernandez to load the bases for Brignac’s single. It was the second walk-off hit of his career. The last time he did it was back 2010 when he was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays against the New York Yankees when he hit a walk-off home run.

“That was a big swing, a couple hits,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “He finally got a strike in the zone. The bases loaded had something to do with that. The pitcher had to come at him.”

The Phillies were able to come away with the victory because of its often-criticized bullpen. The combination Jake Diekman, Mike Adams, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Mario Hollands, and Justin De Fratus, who got the win, held the Mets to just three hits.

“From a bullpen perspective it’s awesome to go out there and hang that many zeroes,” De Fratus said. “Hopefully, we build off of this and we keep it going.”

Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett had a strange night. Sometimes, he was pretty good and other times not so good. He had 11 strikeouts and six walks. He gave up five runs on five hits in seven innings. He threw 115 pitches.

“I’m not all over the place, I’m missing here and there,” Burnett said. “Six (walks) is a lot and they scored. I’m just going to keep grinding until find a way. It was one of the games in which got I stronger.”

Perhaps the biggest hero for the Phillies in this game was leftfielder Domonic Brown, who was 1-for-4 including a huge three-run homer in the fourth inning.

“I was some tough luck at time, but that’s baseball,” Brown said. “I think I’ve been doing a decent job with runners in scoring position. I’m just build off that. I played good tonight, but I’m just trying to keep it going.”

In the second inning, Burnett gave up two straight walks to leftfielder Curtis Granderson and right fielder Bobby Abreu. First baseman Lucas Duda doubled to score Granderson from second. Catcher Tony d’Arnaud grounded out to second to score Abreu from third. Shortstop Ruben Tejada singled to left to bring home Duda.

Burnett helped his own cause with a single to right to open the third inning. Rollins singled to right and Burnett went to third because Abreu over ran the ball and was charged with an error. Burnett scored on Chase Utley’s ground out to second to cut the Mets margin to 3-1.

The Phillies took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on a three-run homer to the right-field seats by Brown off Mets starting pitcher Rafael Montero, who allowed four runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings.

Just when it looked like the Phillies were about to take control, the Mets regained the lead at 5-4 on a two-out RBI double to right field by Abreu that score Juan Lagares, who reached on an infield single and Daniel Murphy who walked.

The Phillies evened things in the fifth on Brown’s RBI ground out to the shortstop to score Marlin Bryd, who walked to open the inning and went to third on a double by Ruiz.

It would be another three hours and nine innings before anyone scored again.

Lee Pitches Well, but Phillies Can’t Score in Loss to Braves

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee strikes out 13 Atlanta Braves, but is on the short end of a 1-0 shut out. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee strikes out 13 Atlanta Braves, but is on the short end of a 1-0 shut out. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—On a night when Cliff Lee was mowing down Atlanta Braves hitters, the Phillies offense was about as cold as the night time temperature.

That’s because the Phils couldn’t figure out the riddle that was Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran (2-1). In nine innings, the Phillies could only manage just three hits—all singles by Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins.

In what was an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, the Braves came away with a 1-0 win over the Phillies in front of 23, 382 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park who saw Lee come up with 13 strikeouts while his offense struggled.

The only mistake Lee made in 128 pitches was giving up a home run on an 0-2 pitch to Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who was ripping up Phillies pitching the way his predecessor Brian McCann used to when he was the Atlanta catcher. It was Gattis’s third home run of the series. He had four hits in the game.

“On the pitch to Gattis, I tried to elevate a fast ball, it wasn’t a bad spot, but it wasn’t the spot I was trying to hit. It was down and in,” Lee said. “The pitch I made today was a bad pitch. I missed the spot I was going for and it ended up in a decent spot, he just put a decent swing on it. You gotta give him credit. I’ve got to be better than that. I should have thrown a different pitch or a different location.”

Pitching all nine innings, Lee definitely did his part to help the Phillies win this game. He scattered 11 hits and did a masterful job of pitching himself out of jams when the Braves had men on base. The effort Lee put out tonight was nothing short of amazing.

Meanwhile, Teheran wasn’t necessarily coming up with strikeouts, but he was getting the Phillies out and thanks to the wind blowing in from center field a few hard hit balls that might have gone out of the park on a hot summer day, stayed inside the stadium.

Atlanta's Julio Teheran allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout of Philadelphia. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Atlanta’s Julio Teheran allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout of Philadelphia. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Teheran had four strikeouts and no walks in 115 pitches. He kept the Phillies offense off balance by mixing his pitches effectively. Centerfielder Ben Revere said it was frustrating for his team to not be able to put runs on the board back up

“(Teheran) was hitting his spots and everything, but that’s the way baseball goes,” said Philliescenterfielder Ben Revere. “The guys hit the ball on the money, but it was right at their guys. It’s frustrating but we just got to keep our heads and come back out (Thursday).

“(Lee) pitched one heckuva game. It was phenomenal. Everybody in here is frustrating because your pitcher does so well and gets the loss.”

Teheran was perfect through his four innings before giving up an infield single to Howard. He gave up a pair of two-out singles, but the Phillies could not push across.

This loss to the Braves is just the kind of stuff that happens to average teams. They get a solid outing from their starting pitcher, but they can’t hit. Sometimes, the reverse happens. The Phillies score a lot of runs and then the bullpen or the starting pitching breaks down.
The Phillies have to figure out away to play every aspect of their game well—whether it’s getting clutch hitting, good starting and relief pitching. Phils manager Ryne Sandberg said the Phillies have do a better job of providing Lee with run support.

“That’s a trend that we don’t want to have because we know that he gives us a chance to win,” Sandberg said. “Things didn’t go our way on the offensive side with some hard-hit balls tonight.”


Phillies Get Third Straight Walk-Off Win Over Arizona

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Chase Utley's walk-off base-on-balls gave teh Phillies a 4-3 win over Arizona. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Chase Utley’s walk-off base-on-balls gave teh Phillies a 4-3 win over Arizona. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—For the third straight game, the Phillies gave the fans at Citizen’s Bank Park something to smile about with their 4-3 walk-off win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Chase Utley’s walk-off base-on-balls with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning against Diamondbacks reliever Eury De La Rosa gave the Phillies their third straight walk-off win.

“Anytime you have a walk-off, it creates some excitement with the guys getting out there on the field …three straight walk-offs, you’re lucky if you get that in a month,” said Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg. “Right now, it’s carrying over into the next day. It feels good and we’ll continue to build on it.”

In the ninth inning, the Phillies got a leadoff single by pinch hitter Cody Asche. A single off the hit and run by shortstop Jimmy Rollins drove Asche to third. After an intentional walk to third baseman Michael Young that loaded the bases, Kevin Frandsen struck out.

But Utley did a good job of working the count against De La Rosa, who threw an inside breaking pitch that wasn’t even close to the strike zone. The walk scored Asche from third.

“Winning is winning, I’m just glad we’re able to battle and stay with it throughout the whole game,” said starting pitcher Cole Hamels. “It’s a good feeling just to have something going the right way for as long as we had it this week.”

Hamels had another quality start, going seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and just one walk. He allowed those runs in the fourth inning.

“Hamels threw the ball well for his seven innings,” Sandberg said. “He ran into some trouble in the fourth with a hit batsman on an 0-2 pitch and then the twilight ball Domonic didn’t see.”

That fourth inning started when Hamels hit Diamondbacks right fielder Adam Eaton with the pitch. A double to left by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt that fell between shortstop John McDonald and leftfielder Domonic Brown, who apparently lost the ball in the lights, moved Eaton to third.

Both runners scored on an RBI double by left fielder Martin Prado. An RBI single by third baseman Matt Davidson drove home Prado. Arizona was held scoreless for rest of the game.

The Phillies bullpen, which has struggled throughout the season, kept the team in the game and did not allow a run. The combination of B.J.Rosenberg and Jonathnan Papelbon allowed just one hit over the last two innings.

“They put up zeroes, seventh through ninth,” Sandberg said. “The games have been somewhat tight and it allows the offense to do something. Also the way that they’re putting zeroes up, the defense is coming off the field. It’s all about manufacturing a  run or two and puts it on the offense.”

The Phillies started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a solo home run from Darin Ruf. It was his 10th of the season and his eighth since Aug. 1.

“(Ruf) continues to swing the bat with some pop,” Sandberg said.

But Arizona bounced back to take the lead with a three-run fourth. The Phillies would come back in their half of the sixth inning with a bases loaded RBI double by catcher Carlos Ruiz that scored first baseman Kevin Frandsen and Brown.

The Phillies tied the game in the sixth inning on an RBI bases-loaded double by Carlos Ruiz, who is hitting .373 in 19 games since Aug. 1.

Phillies Snap Three-Game Losing Streak Thanks to Good Pitching and Dr. Longball

By Chris Murray

For the Sunday Sun and the CM Report

Even though their record at home was just 12-19 coming into Tuesday’s game against a lackluster Colorado Rockies squad, the Phillies were in desperate need of a win desperate need of a win so they could avoid sinking further behind in the National League East, especially after last weekend’s sweep in Toronto.

The injury-riddled Phillies snapped their three-game losing streak and gave the sell-out crowd at Citizen’s Bank a reason to smile again by roughing up the Colorado Rockies in a 7-2 win that came courtesy of the long ball and the strong left arm of starting pitcher Cole Hamels.

Carlos Ruiz made a case for his possible selection to the 2012 All-Star game with a big night against the Rockies. He went 2-for-4 with a homerun and three runs batted in. Ruiz has a career-high nine homeruns. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Ruiz has been hitting well since spring training.

“From day one, he’s been hitting and he’s kept his swing,” Manuel said. “He got a little whack last week, but he’s worked his way out of it. I’d say he hit the ball pretty good (Tuesday) night. He’s been hitting ever since he reported to camp this year.”

The Phillies also got a big night from John Mayberry Jr. who was also 2-for-4 including a two-run homer that the team up for good. It was the third straight game that Mayberry, batting in the seventh spot, has hit a homerun. He is batting .381 over his last five games and has 11 RBI in his last six games.

“He’s one of those guys that build his confidence and when he’s hitting in a good groove, I’ll see how I can move him,” Manuel said when asked about Mayberry is batting in the lineup. “He’s starting to swing very good.On the road, he started swinging good and he followed it up today.”

Hamels (10-3) had one of his better outings in quite some time after struggling in his last four starts.. He went eight innings, struck out seven and allowed just two earned runs in six hits. After walking Rockies starting pitcher in the second inning, Hamels struck out the next five batters. It was smooth sailing for the Phillies lefty for the rest of the game.

“Being a pitcher that’s the one taboo that you don’t ever want to do and that’s walking the pitcher,” Hamels said after the game. “You definitely have to step up and beardown that’s kind of what had to tell myself is just to bear down more and know that I can throw strikes and get guys out.

“I was able to get it under control and get guys when I needed to.”

After the Rockies had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Tyler Colvin, the Phillies evened the game at a run apiece when Placido Polanco double to left that scored Jimmy Rollins, who walked to open the inning.

For the game, Rollins scored three runs, had a stolen base,was 2-for-2 and reached all four times he was at the plate.

“That was big, he ran real good,” Manuel said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him run in a while and that shows that his legs are strong. When he plays like that, he gives us a lift.”

The Phils upped the margin to 3-1 in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by left fielder John Mayberry Jr. to left field. The Rockies their second run of the game on an RBI single by Chris Nelson that scored first baseman Todd Helton.

The Phillies added another run in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Ruiz that plated Rollins. A ground out by Hunter Pence scored Hamels to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead in the seventh. Later in the inning, Ruiz’s two-run blast to left center put the game away for the Phillies.