Ya know, it's the little things that matter. Take the five-run third that the Phils laid on Paul Maholm.
It started with a walk, a ball that deflected off Pedro's glove, and an error by Bobby Crosby. It could have been a possible 1-2-3 inning, who knows? What we do know is that given a gift-wrapped bases juiced, nobody away situation, the Phils took full advantage.
Four of the next five hitters had knocks (including a catchable fly and a second botched DP chance), and it was 7-1 before the fans downed their first cold one. Very few teams can survive a six or seven out inning, particularly a team as fragile as Pittsburgh.
For some inexplicable reason, JR let Maholm stay in the game; he even let him lead off the third. He flew out, and the next two guys singled. He lasted two batters into the fourth before he was yanked.
So tonight's line was three innings, eight runs (seven earned), ten hits, two walks, and a strikeout as the good Paul, bad Paul ride continues.
Justin Thomas came in, and the bleeding continued. He got the side out in the fourth with no new damage, and in the fifth was an out away from doing the same, but he fell behind Jimmy Rollins 2-0 and fed him an 89 MPH heater belt high and down the middle; it ended up in the left field stands for a two run dinger.
The Phils went yard again in the sixth, and again with two outs when Ben Francisco hit his first of the year. He worked the count to 2-2, fouled off a pair of off-speed pitches, and took a knee-high heater clocked at 92 and down Broadway over the left field fence.
Brendan Donnelly took over in the seventh, and it was more of the same. He got the first two outs, and then gave up back-to-back two strike doubles as the Phils padded their lead to 12-2. BD pitched a clean eighth, and Javier Lopez finished up the ninth.
For the Bucs, it was more futility at the dish. Kyle Kendrick was in line to get bumped out of the rotation with the impending return of JA Happ. But he went the distance, giving up four runs on ten hits, and four of those knocks were in the eighth and ninth frames, when his tank was about empty.
Pedro hit his first homer (he went 2-for-4, and didn't K), Ryan Church (3-for-3 with a walk) added another, while Delwyn Young and Ronny Cedeno had two-out RBI knocks. But three DPs kept the Bucs from putting together any sort of big inning. Of course, in a 12-4 loss, the finger can hardly be pointed at the attack.
It was an old fashioned stomping; every Phillie starter had at least a hit and either scored and/or drove in a run, including the pitcher. Not exactly the kind of show you want to put on in front of 38,052 fans. Oh well, at least the Zambelli family won't let them down.
Joe Blanton and Jeff Karstens mix it up tomorrow afternoon to close the series. The Bucs are off on Monday, and then will be on the road until the All-Star break.
-- Neil Walker returned to the lineup tonight and reclaimed the two hole. Pedro continues to get juggled around, and hit fifth.
-- Steve Pearce underwent an MRI exam yesterday and it showed that he has patella tendinitis of the left knee. He'll come to Pittsburgh to get further poking and probing to determine his rehab schedule.
Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy the day and stay safe.