Phils blank Rangers, 3-0
Written by: Phil E. Backer
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Phillies made three first-inning runs stand up as they finally broke into the victory column, beating the Rangers 3-0 in a well-pitched game by both clubs Thursday night at Plaisted Field.
R.J. earned the victory with 11 strikeouts and only two walks in 4.2 innings. He scattered four hits, never more than one per inning. George took over with two down in the fifth and the tying run on deck, and earned the save by walking nobody and allowing only one hit.
Both Phillies pitchers were helped by fine defensive plays. With two runners in scoring position in the third and the Rangers dangerous cleanup hitter at the plate, Nat scooped up a grounder and threw across the diamond to Will for the final out. In the fourth, Joe and Noah combined on a force at second base for the second out and R.J., again with two runners in scoring position, made a nice two-handed catch near the foul line for the third out.
In the fifth, Jake thought he had fly in deep center, only to have it pop out of his mitt. He more than made up for it on the very next batter, however, by racing into shallow center to make a catch that, for the third consecutive inning, stranded Ranger baserunners at second and third.
The Phillies closed out the game with three nice fielding plays. Jake caught another ball in center. George handled a comebacker to the mound and Joe threw to first for the final out, with R.J. picking the the throw out of the dirt to complete the shutout.
Offensively, Tanner reached twice after being hit by a pitch. The first time it happened, Noah followed with an infield single and Tanner scored on a wild pitch. R.J.'s double down the leftfield line scored Noah and proved to be the last hit of the night for the Phillies, whose final run came when R.J. scored on a wild pitch.
Excellent pitching and clutch defense made the 3-0 lead stand up. Now the Phillies look forward to Saturday's noon contest at Upper Lions against the Cubs.
No decision yet as to whether Coach Mackenzie, who according to all accounts performed with aplomb at his dance recital, should risk disrupting the winning karma by returning to his baseball duties.