Don't let the rain delay, the sloppy conditions, the empty seats and apparent lack of interest on a beautiful football Sunday in Philadelphia fool you. Today, the reigning champs had one of their best showings of the entire 2009 campaign.
Led by an efficient early attack, followed nearly two hours later by five excellent relief innings, the Phillies pieced together an impressive win in an important game to take two-out-of-three in Atlanta and crush the Braves' hopes for the postseason. Critics of the Phillies' power-first approach missed an excellent display of timely hitting and good base running early if they elected to watch football, as the Phillies put four textbook runs on the board against rookie phenom Tommy Hanson. Then, after rain cut Cliff Lee's start to four innings, the bullpen, which already put in overtime in the series' first-two games, sealed the deal with five brilliant innings, using Tyler Walker, who earned the win, for the fifth and sixth, Sergio Escalona and Clay Condrey for the seventh, Ryan Madson for the eighth and Brad Lidge for the ninth to collect his 31st save. September call-ups, like Kyle Kendrick and Escalona, and the expanded roster in general, certainly played a huge role in this series.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Cincinnati mauled Florida 8-1, meaning the Phils' lead is back to eight as they head to South Florida. Great performance in a key game by the defending champs.