First things first: any win over the New York Muts is a good win. Let's begin with that as the overarching premise. The Phillies beat the Muts 9-7 today, meaning that they are now 21 games over .500 and now enjoy a 6.5 game lead over Atlanta. The Muts, who were bragging about being the team to beat in spring training, are 10 games under .500 and are now 15.5 games out of first place.
Pedro Martinez went to 2-0, beating his old team. Martinez went six innings, giving up four runs, including an inside-the-park home run. Once again, the Phillies lit up Oliver Perez like a Christmas tree, including homers by Jayson Werth, who continues to be on a tear and how has 29 homers, and catcher Carlos Ruiz, who has hit homers in back-t0-back games.
The game also featured a typically nail-biting save by Brad Lidge, who gave up a run. This time, though, it was not Lidge's fault--the Phils made 2 errors behind him in the bottom of the 9th. Ryan Howard made a three-base error on the lead-off hitter, and then nearly completely useless Eric Bruntlett then kicked a ground ball that brought in a run. The next hitter, Daniel Murphy, got an infield single, and it looked like Lidge was going to blow another save.
And then the useless Eric Bruntlett--playing because Charlie Manuel gave Chase Utley a rare day off--did something VERY useful--he turned what was 15th unassisted triple play in the history of major league baseball, and only the second one to end a game. With Angel Pagan on second base and Murphy on first, Jeff Francouer hit a scorching line drive to Bruntlett, who snagged the liner, stepped on second base to double Pagan, and then chased down and tagged Murphy out for an unassisted triple play (second baseman Mickey Morandini was the only other Phil to do so, in 1992) to end the game. A frustrated Francouer slammed his helmet and bat to the ground at the plate. The photo is of Bruntlett tagging out Murphy to end the game.
"Frenchy hit it on the screws," Murphy said. "It happened so fast there was nothing I could do."
"What a bizarre ending. I don't know what happened there. The game's over, so I'm happy with that," Lidge said. "That was pretty exciting. That's definitely not the way you draw it up."
"Even with the runners going I did not expect him to be there. The only place he could catch the ball was where he was," Francouer said. "To end the way it did was a little disheartening."
And with that, Brad Lidge earned his 25th save and didn't give up an earned run for the third straight appearance. Perhaps he's finally starting to find some consistency. If so, it couldn't happen at a better time.
Bruntlett remains almost completely useless, although he did get 3 hits today, raising his awe-inspiring batting average all the way to .154. However, he does deserve kudos for turning the unassisted triple play to end the game. Good for you, Eric Bruntlett. You still have no place on a major league roster, but at least today, you earned your paycheck.