Ruiz, Blanton lead Phillies past Cubs, 5-2

Posted: April 28, 2012

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel revamped his lineup in hopes of shaking up a struggling offense, and, at least for one night, he received the desired results.

With Jimmy Rollins returning to the leadoff spot for the first time this season and contributing a two-run double, the Phillies defeated the Chicago Cubs, 5-2, on Saturday at chilly Citizens Bank Park.

Manuel said before the game the move wasn't made specifically for Rollins, but more because he wanted to get others in the lineup.

Laynce Nix started in left field and batted sixth. Juan Pierre has made 14 starts in left while batting first.

Hunter Pence moved from fourth to the No. 3 spot and Jim Thome hit cleanup. Pete Orr got the start at second base and batted eighth.

When asked if Rollins would stay as the leadoff batter, Manuel was noncommittal.

"We'll see what happens," Manuel said. "I plan on playing Pierre (Sunday) too. We'll see."

Rollins declined comment after the game.

Thome, who was making his fourth start, left the game in the fifth inning with lower back tightness and is listed as day to day. He was replaced by Ty Wigginton, who increased his hitting streak to 13 games with a seventh inning single.

Obscured by the efficient offensive was the pitching performance of Joe Blanton. The Phillies righthander pitched a season-high 71/3 innings. He departed for Chad Qualls with one out in the eighth, and a 5-1 lead. There were runners at the corners and one out.

The Cubs made it 5-2 when 2011 all-star Starlin Castro greeted Qualls with an RBI fielder's choice. Qualls then ended the inning by striking out Bryan LaHair.

Jonathan Papelpon earned his seventh save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Blanton (2-3) allowed two runs, both earned, on eight hits. He struck out eight and didn't walk a batter.

"I felt I had a good curve and my slider was pretty good out of the gate," Blanton said. "What made those pitches decent was I was able to locate my fastball better than I had the last couple of games."

In Friday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs, Phillies starter Roy Halladay retired the first 10 batters.

This time Cubs starter Randy Wells pitched hitless ball through the first three innings before surrendering Pence's leadoff double down the third base line in the fourth inning.

Wells not only lost his no-hitter, but also his control and eventually the game in the fourth inning.

He walked two batters to load the bases. Carlos Ruiz delivered a one-out, two-run double up the middle. After getting Orr on a fly out to left, Wells walked Joe Blanton to load the bases.

Rollins then made Wells pay while also forcing his exit with a two-run double to right that was just fair. That snapped an 0-for-13 skid for Rollins. Even though Rollins was just 1 for 4 with a strikeout, the fact that he contributed two RBIs after entering the game with just three, is step in the right direction.

Ruiz hit towering home run to left in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-1. In the top of the inning, Ruiz had been momentarily shaken up when hit in the knee with a foul ball.

"I'm OK," Ruiz said, although he said may feel sore on Sunday.

The Cubs opened the scoring in the first inning when Castro hit a two-out single, stole second base and scored on LaHair's double.

After that Blanton settled down in his longest outing since pitching 72/3 innings on June 29, 2010 against the Cincinnati Reds.


Contact Marc Narducci at 856,779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com or @sjnard on Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|