The Phillies have continued to sway doubters, time and time again, that they won’t quit. Last night, behind 6.1 solid innings from Roy Halladay, the Phillies beat the Marlins 9-7. It wasn’t easy as the Phillies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before the Marlins cut it to 3-2 in the third. The Phillies would eventually open up an 8-3 lead before the Marlins; again, cut into the lead in the seventh making is 8-7. The Phillies manufactured an insurance run in the bottom half of the seventh to give them a 9-7. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 33rd save of the season. The win, their sixth straight, brings the Phillies to .500 for the first time since June 4th. More here.
The Cardinals and Padres squared off in San Diego with the Phillies lurking 4.5 games back after their win over Miami. The Cardinals capitalized on some sloppy Padres defense to jump out to a 2-0 lead. The Padres would not go down easy as they put up five runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. The Cardinals cut the lead to 5-4 in the seventh but an eighth inning insurance run, coupled with Luke Gregerson’s sixth save of the season, sealed the victory for San Diego and moved the Phillies to four games back of the Cardinals in the Wild Card chase. More here.
There are two teams between the Phillies and the Cardinals in the Wild Card chase. One of those teams is the Pittsburgh Pirates who entered last night 2.5 games back of the Cardinals. Coming off of an extra inning game the night before, the Pirates were looking to bounce back last night in Cincinnati but it just wasn’t happening. Behind solid starting pitching from Phillies launching pad, Mike Leake, the Reds took home a 5-3 victory and the Pirates failed to gain any ground on the Cardinals. The Pirates are now 5-15 over their last 20 games. More here.
The other team between the Phillies and Cardinals is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were playing the pesky Arizona Diamondbacks. This was a game surrounded by starting pitching as reigning NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw went up against 2011 NL Cy Young finalist Ian Kennedy. The game was scoreless in the fifth when D’backs leftfielder Jason Kubel leaped and robbed Luis Cruz of a two run homerun that would have given the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Instead the D’backs got on the board in the seventh on a Miguel Montero double that scored Paul Goldschmidt. That would be all the scoring in the game as the D’backs held on and kept the Dodgers one game behind the Cardinals in the Wild Card. More here.
The NHL CBA expires at midnight on Saturday (basically Friday night). Today they have scheduled informal meetings between the NHL (Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Dill Daly) and the NHLPA leaders (Donald and Steve Fehr- yes, they are related. They are brothers). The NHLPA has scheduled internal meetings (basically with the team player representatives) this afternoon and tomorrow in New York. At the same time as the NHLPA internal meetings, the NHL will be meeting with their board of Governors. No one is 100% sure if the NHLPA is going to submit a CBA proposal but with two days of meetings, it will be pretty clear tomorrow afternoon whether there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if they are willing to accept a lockout. Another interesting strategy is that the NHLPA filed a cease-and-desist order in Quebec against the Canadiens and the league in order to try and prevent a lockout. More here.