A Perfect 10 Jayson Werth homered in the 13th to extend their streak.

Posted: July 22, 2009

The Phillies have hit, pitched, and played their usual pristine defense to build their longest winning streak since 1991.

And in those rare moments when executing all the facets of the game wasn't quite enough, a stroke of fortune here and there made its way into the equation.

Case in point: With one out and a runner on first in the top of the ninth inning last night at Citizens Bank Park, Chicago's Aramis Ramirez hit a sizzling grounder destined for a base hit. It brushed off the leg of Brad Lidge just enough to slow it a bit, and Jimmy Rollins turned it into an inning-ending double play.

"How'd I like it?" manager Charlie Manuel said of the way Lidge started the double play. "He got it done."

But that wasn't Lady Luck who sent Jayson Werth's drive over the left-field wall with two out and two on in the bottom of the 13th for the walk-off homer that gave the Phillies a 4-1 win over the Cubs.

Nor was that Lady Luck on the mound when four Phillies relievers shut out the Cubs over the final six innings as the Phillies extended their winning streak to 10 games and stayed 6 1/2 games in front of second-place Atlanta in the NL East.

Werth ended the long night by ripping a 1-1 pitch from former Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija into the seats for his 21st home run.

He wasn't certain if he had belted a splitter or a change-up, but he sounded certain that the best from the Phillies is still to come.

"We have a good thing going right now," said Werth, who has 61 RBIs and compensated for a combined 0 for 14 from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez.

"We've just got to keep it going. Everyone in here knows when we are at our best, we're tough to beat. But I still don't think we're clicking on all cylinders and we beat a good club the last two nights, so that's a good sign."

If the Phillies are not yet firing on all cylinders, then when?

"I think you'll see our best baseball in September and October," Werth said.

With starter Joe Blanton continuing a stellar run of top-notch pitching from the starters, the Phillies won for the 14th time in the last 15 games. Blanton went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits while walking none. Since May 26 - a span of 10 starts - the barrel-chested righthander has a 2.32 earned run average.

Chan Ho Park was the most impressive performer out of the bullpen, mowing through the Cubs for three perfect innings while striking out five. Clay Condrey pitched the 13th and got the win.

"The pen did an unbelievable job," Blanton said. "They were aggressive and slow strikes."

When Rollins started the first inning with a single, it was the fourth consecutive game he led off with a hit. In the third, he smacked a 3-0 fastball into the right-field seats to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead and nail down his ninth multi-hit game in the last 15. Rollins also extended his hitting streak to seven games.

The one-run lead didn't hold up for long. The Cubs got to Blanton for a run in their half of the fourth when Kosuke Fukudome ripped a double into the left-center field gap to score Ryan Theriot with two out. But Blanton shook off the run and went on to give the Phillies his fourth quality start in the last five. He threw 70 strikes among his 101 pitches.

Blanton has steadily progressed after a shaky early part of the season. That progress is accurately reflected in his earned run average, which was 8.41 at the end of April, 6.14 at the end of May, 5.08 at the end of June, and has dipped to 4.24.

He had little margin for error all night because Cubs starter Rich Harden, whose fastball was hitting 97 m.p.h., wasn't having much of a problem with the Phillies' lineup aside from Rollins.

After Rollins' third-inning homer, Harden didn't allow a hit until Werth's leadoff single in the seventh.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.

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