In what mayor Michael Nutter called quite unconvincingly "an incredible event," the Phillies acknowledged Philadephia's smaller, better baseball team, the Taney Dragons, prior to the first pitch tonight. Shockingly, it was not the most victorious moment of the evening.
Someone with the Phillies, seriously, put together a montage of the Dragons' best moments up to and in the LLWS, and, seriously, they backed it with Rod Stewart's "Forever Young," - I'm serious - a song that at most zero of them have heard/know about.
Kids: They sure do love Rod Stewart!
After Ian Desmond was finished making the night all about himself and the beat writers all bitched endlessly, things got underway. At this point, the Taney Dragons might be a little sick of baseball. But they were forced to watch as the Phillies attempted for some reason to sweep the Nationals.
It was then that some people were reminded that Kyle Kendrick was pitching tonight, and he reminded them a second time by giving up an immediate single to Denard Span and a slightly less immediate RBI double to Anthony Rendon.
A double play seemed to pull Kendrick out of the fire, but Ian Desmond insisted on an RBI single that scored Rendon, and the Nationals ended the inning up two runs. Kendrick's first inning ERA hit the double digits.
The Phillies uncharacteristically didn't just give up, and in the bottom of the inning, a Jimmy Rollins home run was followed by a Ryan Howard RBI single that scored Chase Utley, and the Phils had tied things up before Domonic Brown could do what he does best: strike out to end the threat.
The Phillies boldly chose to send Kendrick back out there for the second, and he deceived them with a clean inning before giving up a lead off double to Span and an RBI single to Jayson Werth in the third.
Kendrick chewed on the strike zone and even logged a few K's, but in the fifth, Span nailed him for an atmospheric home run that beat a couple commuters over the Walt Whitman Bridge.
And then, amid some likely boo-hooing from the press box,
The Taney Dragons are back on the field, dancing with the Phanatic.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) August 28, 2014
Marlon Byrd led off the sixth with a single, and was doubled in by Domonic Brown to make it 4-3. My current favorite Phillie Grady Sizemore stepped in as a pinch hitter for Kendrick (Final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 SO, 1 BB) and hit a two-run home run to give the Phillies the lead.
Doug Fister responded poorly to the run and bashed Ben Revere in the skull with a fastball. Fister was taken out of the game by Matt Williams amid a sea of furious boos. It probably wasn't on purpose, but who knows what thoughts exist in that sick, sick man's mind.
Revere stayed in the game, undoubtedly leaking grey matter, but still limping around the bases like some kind of stitched-together puppet somehow competing for the National League batting title.
Antonio Bastardo entered the game and held back the Nationals lineup so that Marlon Byrd could step in later that inning and punch a two-run home run that expanded the lead to 7-4 and make the next few innings less wildly uncomfortable.
Some smarmy, condescending dickhead wrote a preview for this series in which he hinted that the Nationals' biggest problem would be not injuring themselves while laughing at the Phillies. The Phillies sure showed that guy and my stupid idiot face. Already up 7-4, Ross Detweiler partook in the recent trend of walking Chase Utley to get to Ryan Howard. That loaded the bases, after Darin Ruf and Ben Revere had singled. Howard, however, hit a single of his own, making it 8-4. He went 3-for-5 on the night with three one-baggers.
Ken Giles was summoned to hold off the Nationals' adorable comeback attempt in the ninth, and fell victim to singles from Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos, but fit three outs around them and Washington left town without a win as the Phillies made it a 7-2 homestand and the Nationals can go to Seattle feeling really, truly ashamed to their utter cores.