After striking out four times in his first four at-bats of the game, Ryan Howard stroked a two-run double in the 11th inning and it proved to be the difference as the Phillies beat the Padres 4-2.
The Phils did not manage to put a runner on base from the sixth inning to the tenth. Placido Polanco’s single to leadoff the 11th frame broke the streak and kick-started the Phils’ game-winning rally. After Shane Victorino’s sac bunt and Pete Orr’s groundout to short, Polly was on third and the Padres opted to put Rollins on to get to Howard. San Diego's gamble did not pay off as Ryan Ludwick struggled with Howard’s long fly to left and Polanco and Rollins both came around to score.
The bullpen was terrific, posting four innings of scoreless, one-hit ball after Joe Blanton’s removal. Danys Baez worked an unblemished eighth, Antonio Bastardo struck out the side in the ninth, Kyle Kendrick got the win with a scoreless 10th and Ryan Madson shut it down in the 11th for his second save of the season.
In seven innings of work, Blanton allowed two earned runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Following a pair of rough starts to begin the year, he has allowed just four runs over his last 14 innings on the mound.
The Phillies notched just six hits on the night and Ben Francisco was the only guy with multiple knocks, including an RBI triple in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins knocked in a run on an infield single in the sixth. Howard finished 1-for-5 with and had four Ks for the second time this series.
Next up: Roy Halladay takes the mound against Wade LeBlanc on Sunday as the Phils look to complete the sweep.
-Written for Beerleaguer by Matt Grassie