The Phils came within one out of doing something that they haven't done in 40 years last night...Tyler Walker gave up a run in the top of the 9th inning, keeping the Phils from posting three straight shutouts for the first time since 1969. Instead, they won 6-1, behind 6 gritty innings by Joe Blanton, who ran his record to 10-7.
The Phils scored their first run on a double steal by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Utley stole home and Howard second. As an added benefit of his weight loss, the big fella has 7 steals this year; he had 2 in his career before this year. Utley also stole second base later in the game, giving him 21 for the season. Jayson Werth's breakout year continues, as he hit a grand slam in the 7th inning for his 34th homer of the season. He now has 88 RBI's and should finish with at least 90 for the season.
There's no glory in beating the incredibly woeful Nationals, who now have 95 losses for the season and seem a sure bet to lose at least 105 games this year. However, championship teams have to do well against the second division teams, and the Phils have feasted on the Nationals this year. They have one more to go against the Nats tonight. The Phillies are now 24 games over .500, tying their highest winning percentage of the season to date.
And the good news is that Clay Condrey was activated from the disabled list after a lengthy stay, and J. A. Happ will make his first start since September 2 on Friday night. The starting pitching has been spectacular for the last week. Greg Dobbs, the excellent pinch hitter and utility man, also returned from a lengthy stay on the disabled list yesterday, too. Things are really beginning to look up for the prospects for the postseason.
The bad news is that Chan Ho Park, who has been excellent since going to the bullpen, suffered a badly pulled hamstring last night when he felt something pop. He will be out indefinitely, and may very well miss the postseason as a result. He's been effective, and will be missed.