Chase Utley homered twice and Bobby Abreu delivered a grand slam as the Phillies powered past the Diamondbacks 11-3 Friday night.
This turned into a complete blowout after the Phils climbed back from a 3-1 deficit. The only one not smiling during this outstanding team performance was starting pitcher Brett Myers, who pouted and slammed bats after Charlie Manuel yanked him after four ineffective innings.
Take a seat, Brett. It was the best move of the game, one of Manuel’s strongest as a manager. This was the same Myers we saw two weeks ago – arguing balls that were out of the zone and throwing a fit on the mound. Manuel wanted no part of it and sat him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth.
The brat tried desperately to drum up sympathy from his teammates while sulking in the shadows of the dugout. Manuel ignored him, the team ignored him and focused on tearing the D-backs to shreds.
Too bad bulldog missed it.
My player of the night was reliever Aaron Fultz, who pitched two shutout innings when the game was still close.
The bullpen secured it the rest of the way, with a shutout inning from Ryan Madson, and for those still conscious at 12:49 a.m. EST, we saw the sterling Phillies debut of Aquilino Lopez. Lopez retired all six batters he faced and struck out the side in the eighth. Lots of sliders with this guy. Pretty nasty.
As for the offense, both of Chase Utley’s homers came off left-handed starter Brad Halsey, and they were tape-measure shots.
Abreu’s slam also went deep, this one off former Phillie Tim Worrell. Worrell ran the count to 3-1, and at that point, there was little doubt Abreu would get something he could crush. Bam!
With Abreu and Utley back on track, the Phils appear capable of a sustained playoff push. The team is playing some of their best baseball of the season on the road and just when they need it. Is it a credit to the atmosphere created by Manuel? I believe that's part of it.
With the win, they maintain their 1.5-game lead in the Wild Card, but perhaps more importantly, climb to just 2.5 back of the division-leading Braves.
Phans, it could be for real this time.
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