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A Salty Surprise: Phillies 3, Padres 0

Opening Night at Citizens Bank Park featured a less than likely treat for the home crowd.

Charlie Morton Pitches
Charlie Morton Pitches
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Tonight was Game Two of a thrilling matchup between two teams who are looking to see who can be slightly less terrible. The Padres threw out Robbie Erlin to start in place of Tyson Ross, who is on the 15-day DL with shoulder issues, while the Phillies once again called upon Charlie Morton, who you may remember from last week’s shelling at the hand of the Reds.

The pitchers dueled into the sixth, each only allowing three hits. The Padres’ first hit came in the third inning from CF Jon Jay, who has successfully hit in 8 out of 8 games so far this year (which is much more impressive than writing only 5 of the 85 Federalist Papers, but I won’t Judge).

In the second inning, the Phils prepared a defensive shift for Brett Wallace, which gave us a spectacular moment when 3B Maikel Franco flagged a soft liner up the middle from second base. He then treated us to a jump-pivot throw to Ryan Howard at first, who scooped up the ball for the out. This was not the only instance in which the shift worked out to the Phillies’ favor tonight, but it was the most dramatic.

The Phillies caused a bit of concern for their fans, who already have rock bottom expectations, when they did not get their first hit until all the way into the fifth inning on a Freddy Galvis single to center. Peter Bourjos killed the brief rally in the next at bat with a strikeout.

The real fun came in the sixth; after making short work of the Padres at the top of the inning, Tyler Goeddel led off the bottom by reaching base on his first Major League hit (Yay Tyler!). He then advanced to second on a wild pitch from Erlin and was brought home by an RBI Triple from Odubel Herrera.

Morton was pulled in the seventh after back to back walks to Ramirez and Amarista in favor of the dreaded Phillies bullpen. The bullpen’s Hector Neris, David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez finished the game without allowing the Padres on the board, surprising us all by displaying unexpected competence.

The Phillies added some unnecessary but very appreciated insurance runs in the eighth against reliever Kevin Quackenbush. With the bases loaded, Maikel Franco hit into what would normally be an inning-ending double play, except 2B Corey Spangenberg made a throwing error to first. The play caused some consternation by Padres Manager Andy Green, who challenged the call on the grounds that Odubel Herrera violated the Utley Rule in his slide to second base. After a quick review, however, the Umps’ original call stood, which meant two more runs delivered by Cedric Hunter and Emmanuel Burriss for the Phillies.

With this win, the Phillies improve to 3-5, and will once again face off against San Diego tomorrow night with Jerad Eickhoff.