In their first 125 seasons of play, the Philadelphia Phillies had never swept a postseason series. It didn't happen in season #126 either, as the Milwaukee Brewers took a 4-1 decision to register their first playoff win since 1982 to pull within two games to one and extend their season at least one more day.
This one seemed star-crossed almost from the beginning, as Jamie Moyer's usually pinpoint control deserted him when the veteran walked the first two Milwaukee hitters of the game. Both came around to score, and though Moyer stranded runners in each of the first two innings, he threw over 60 pitches in doing so and could only last four frames. Charlie Manuel, who managed such a good game on Thursday in Philadelphia, was at his semi-random worst tonight: Clay Condrey in the 5th, as the Brewers added a run to make it 3-0, then Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre--brought in to retire Prince Fielder in a key spot to close the 6th inning. The problem was that Manuel inexplicably left Eyre in to start the seventh against a succession of right-handed hitters, and after the Phillies had gotten on the board, the veteran gave the run right back. By the time Ryan Madson came in to clean up the mess, the damage was done.
That four runs was not only enough, but comfortably enough, is tribute to the continuing struggles of Phillies hitters to deliver in this series. The team notched nine hits against Dave Bush and four Brewer relievers, but stranded runners in scoring position in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, and 9th innings. The final frame was the most frustrating, as Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs and Shane Victorino all singled off struggling Milwaukee closer Salomon Torres to load the bases with none out. But Pedro Feliz, first-pitch swinging, rolled a grounder to third baseman Bill Hall for an easy 'round-the-horn double play--and with Victorino called for runners' interference, Ryan Howard, who evidently had scored on the play, was ordered back to third, with Dobbs to second. A Carlos Ruiz groundout later, the game was over.
Suddenly facing the prospect of a fully rested CC Sabathia out for revenge in Game Five, the Phillies try to end it tomorrow behind Joe Blanton. Tested Playoff Veteran (tm) Jeff Suppan gets the ball for the Brewers.