For one night at least, the Phillies didn't look like a team in need of a rotation upgrade. 23 year old lefty Antonio Bastardo handled the Padres with ease in his major-league debut, going six innings and allowing just one run as the Phils won their fifth straight game and moved to 10 games over .500.
What looked to be an intriguing matchup between Bastardo and San Diego ace Jake Peavy didn't materialize, as the Phils plated four runs off Peavy in the first inning with RBI doubles by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez accounting for most of the damage. Peavy left after the inning with flu-like symptoms, stomach pains, or soreness in his ankle, depending on (I think) the mood of the Padres PR staff at different points in the evening. Staked to that 4-0 lead before he took the mound, Bastardo mostly relied on a fastball that sat at 93-94 with movement, working quickly and notching four strikeouts in his first two innings. He finished with five, against four hits--including Adrian Gonzalez's nightly home run, his league-best 22nd this season--a walk, and a hit batsman.
The Phillies added on, scoring two runs each against three Padres relievers. Ibanez was the star, clubbing two home runs after his early double and driving in five to celebrate his 37th birthday. Greg Dobbs added a solo shot in a rare start at third base, and Shane Victorino had two hits and scored twice. The game seemed like a laugher until Chan Ho Park took the mound in the seventh and let the Padres back into it by allowing four runs on four hits and two walks in his one inning of work. Chad Durbin followed and retired the first five men he faced, but surrendered an infield hit and two walks with two outs in the ninth to create a save situation in what had been a nine-run game two innings earlier. Fortunately, Ryan Madson--giving Brad Lidge a well-earned night off--needed just one pitch to retire Kevin Kouzmanoff and secure Bastardo's first career win.
The Phils moved two and a half games ahead of the Mets, who lost earlier, and ran their road record to 18-6. They go for the sweep tomorrow behind another rookie left-hander, J.A. Happ; Chris Young will start for the Padres.