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Rollins, Utley & Howard Drive Phils to Victory

The Phillies snapped an ugly four game losing streak Friday night against the Mets at Citi Field. Saturday night they looked to build on that and take a 2-0 series advantage.

This team’s core of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard is older and has logged many, many miles. But on this night, they would fuel their team in ways reminiscent of 2008.

The Fighins’ would jump ahead early, when Ben Revere and Rollins started the inning with back to back singles. With Revere on third, Utley lifted a sacrifice fly to center-field to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Howard followed that with a double, and then Marlon Byrd got hit by a Dillon Gee pitch. With the sacks packed, Domonic Brown continued his hot hitting with a bloop single to shallow center. Rollins came in to make it 2-0 Phillies.

Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick would give the lead right back in the bottom of the inning, starting by hitting Juan Lagares with a pitch. Daniel Murphy then grounded into a fielder’s choice, reaching safely to first. David Wright would bat next and take Kendrick deep to left center-field.

Just like that it was knotted at 2-2.

The Phillies retook the lead in the top of the second, when Rollins launched a solo shot to right for a 3-2 lead. J-Roll finished going 3-4 with a walk and scored four of the Phillie runs.

Kendrick then cruised through the next four innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. He began that inning with a walk to Lagares. Murphy then singled, and Wright doubled Lagares home for a 3-3 tie. After striking Curtis Granderson out, Kendrick walked Chris Young before being lifted.

Ryne Sandberg called on Jake Diekman to face lefty Lucas Duda. Terry Collins countered that with pinch hitter Eric Cambpell, and he would bring Murphy home on a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.

Kendrick finished going 5.1 innings and allowed four runs on four hits, two walks and struck out four.

The Phillies would strike back the very next inning, with Rollins again reaching base via single. He would advance to second on a wild pitch to Utley. Chase then came through with a double to center-field, bringing J-Roll around from second and tying the game 4-4.

Diekman would come back out for a perfect seventh. Mike Adams, working for the second straight game, pitched in and out of trouble in the eighth but managed to escape with no runs scored. He did allow two hits and walked a man.

The Phillies would go ahead in the ninth inning, thanks again to the Rollins, Utley, Howard trifecta. With two outs, Rollins worked a walk and Utley followed with a single, sending Rollins to third. Howard then singled to left center-field to bring Jimmy home for a 5-4 lead.

It was Howard’s fourth hit of the evening, and Rollins’ fourth run scored. All told, the big three combined to go 9-12 with a walk, four runs scored and four RBIs. They were clutch multiple times, providing the pick me up that their team repeatedly needed.

Jonathan Papelbon closed it out in the ninth for his 11th save of the year, and sent the Phils into Sunday with a chance to sweep the division rival Mets.

Saturday night marked the second straight game that the Phillies won in the ninth inning or later, helping to build confidence after a terrible showing against Toronto earlier this week.

They look to sweep the Mets this afternoon at Citi Field when Cole Hamels takes the mound looking for win number one on the year. He’ll be opposed by Jonathan Niese for New York.

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