However good Roy Halladay is, his odds of topping what Joe Blanton has done over the last month are only a bit better than Adam Eaton's Cy Young award chances. The rotund right-hander turned in his fourth straight dominating start, going eight strong innings against a tough Cardinals lineup to improve his record to 7-4 as the Phillies down St. Louis by a 9-2 score. Blanton is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last four starts, working 29.2 innings over that stretch in which he's given up just 20 hits and five walks while striking out 22.
Blanton allowed single runs in the first and fifth innings, the second on a Mark DeRosa solo home run. In all, he gave up seven hits and a walk while striking out six, including Julio Lugo, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in his eighth and final frame. By then, the Phils were comfortably in front on the strength of two-run homers from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez. Howard's shot, his 25th of the season, came off losing pitcher Todd Wellemeyer in the bottom of the fifth and bounced high off the wall behind the center-field fence. He finished the day 3 for 3 with 3 RBI, but lost the share of the team home run lead when Ibanez went deep two innings later for his 26th on the year.
The win was the Phillies' 17th in their last 20 games, and gave them a 4-1 season series win against the NL Central-leading Cardinals. The Phils now fly to Arizona for a three-game set against the Diamondbacks, starting Monday night as Jamie Moyer faces Jon Garland.