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Altana Bullpen Implodes in Incredible Phillies Come-Back Win


by Christine Cartafalsa

The game had started off just as pathetic as the two that preceded it. Just 20 - 30 minutes after celebrating the 2008 champion Philadelphia Phillies, fans then voiced their discontentment over the latest starting pitcher, Joe Blanton, giving his teammates a 5-run deficit by the 3rd inning with a series of boos and other colorful metaphors.

The bats, once again, seemed to be asleep with the Phillies only managing three runs on three hits up through the seventh inning. Atlanta continued to attack Phillies' pitching, adding two more to their score off relief pitcher J.A. Happ in the 5th.

Once more, the mass exodus began in the sixth before reliever Chad Durbin walked in another run for Atlanta. With the score at 10-3 in the top of the 7th, fans didn't really see much point in staying.

The faithful there-to-the-bitter-end Phillies fans who braved the cold and the pitiful score were given a real treat as Philadelphia rallied with very few hits in the bottom of the seventh. Atlanta's bullpen, which had been so efficient with keeping the batters swinging aimlessly in the first two games of the series, imploded for lack of a better word. Braves manager Bobby Cox went through a parade of pitchers, but none could seem to bring an end to the inning, walking batter after batter. By the time Jason Werth recorded the final out (the third player to make a second appearance in the batters box in the 7th), the Phillies scored eight runs, putting them ahead of the Braves 11-10 on one hit batter, five walks and four singles. Pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett added a bit of insurance with a sacrifice fly in the 8th, the Phillies now leading the Braves 12-10.

Brad Lidge, in his first save opportunity of 2009, remains perfect with the Phillies, but did allow a home run to Matt Diaz.

Final score: 12-11 Phillies. The first win of the season is always a sweet moment and will hopefully spark a fire under the Phillies till-now cold bats.