Grace in human form. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Today, it was (almost) all about Hunter Pence, whose two home runs, including a walk-off blast in the 10th inning off Old Pal Brett Myers, were the difference between victory and defeat, and whose ninth inning error made that extra innings bomb necessary.
Cliff Lee dazzled again, and came away empty-handed, failing to secure his first victory despite allowing a single run on five hits and one walk, and striking out 10.
The Phillies took an early lead in the bottom of the second on a two run blast from Brian Schneider, who was only in that position thanks to a throwing error from Jose Altuve that allowed John Mayberry to reach first base. They'd extend their lead to 3-0 on Pence's first home run in the sixth.
The Astros would creep to within two runs with Matt Downs' solo home run off Lee in the seventh. Lee would come out of the game before the ninth inning after throwing 110 pitches, but not before Phillies manager Charlie Manuel brought some colorful language to the home viewers, getting ejected (warning: NSFW audio) by home plate umpire Bob Davidson in the top of the eighth. With Jonathan Papelbon unavailable after pitching three straight games, the Phillies turned to Chad Qualls, who did not impress, surrendering two runs on four hits, including the game tying run.
Running out of options, the Phillies turned to New Guy Jake Diekman, who absolutely impressed, striking out Marwin Gonzalez with two out and runners on second and third to end the threat in the ninth, and retiring the Astros in order in the top of the 10th with two more strikeouts.
Diekman would pick up the win thanks to Pence, whose solo shot propelled the Phillies to their first three game winning streak of the season.
GameGraph after the Jump