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Rauuuuuuuuul! Walks It Off

Jul 31, 2011, 5:31 PM EDT

What a day for Raul Ibanez as the Phillies sweep the Pirates.
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What a day for Raul Ibanez! All the oft maligned Phillies left fielder did today was hit two home runs, 4 RBIs, and the walkoff winner to complete the sweep of the Pirates.

And Hunter Pence came through to score the game winning run and offered some fantastic quotes to Sarge postgame:

“Good game, let’s go eat!”

More on the game below.

Yesterday, the Phils won on a huge day at the plate by Ryan Howard. Today, Raul Ibanez was the hero, homering twice, then collecting his fourth RBI of the day on a walkoff double that scored Hunter Pence.

The win capped a sweep of the Pirates and a 17-8 July for the Phillies. With the Braves losing their 10,000th game ever on Sunday, the Phils will enter August with a six-game lead in the NL East.

“Let’s go eat” may not even be the Hunter Pence Quote of the Day. In that post-game chat with Sarge, Pence was undeniably excited to have just taken part in a meaningful baseball moment (probably the first time in a long time, considering the team situation he just came from). Here’s Pence on his new digs:

“It’s good to be on a scrappy team that can play some ball.”

We bet. We know it’s good to be a fan of a team that stays scrappy no matter how much success it has. Hunter, Raul and company got a great response from the CBP faithful, who long ago learned not to count this team out when they’re down in the later innings.

HOT STATS
Ibanez had a productive month of July, with 24 RBI since the 5th. By Todd Zolecki’s math, that’s the most any MLB player had over that stretch. His 16 homers in 2011 match his entire 2010 total.

PENCE WATCH
In his two games as a Phillie, Pence hasn’t had the best luck. Those who weren’t able to see the games but checked out the box scores afterward would miss a few details. Yesterday, Pence was called out in his first at bat, despite having beaten the throw. Here’s a good look at that.

Today, Pence’s line read 1-4, but he wasn’t credited with what probably should have wound up a hit. With Ryan Howard on second, Pence hit a grounder deep to short, possibly hard enough a play that he might’ve beaten the thrown. But two things happened that made the play result in a fielder’s choice. First, Howard ran when he shouldn’t have. Second, Howard appeared to beat the throw to third, but was called out because, to be honest, he looked out in real time. Regardless, Pence was on base when Ibanez smacked his second homer of the day.

PITCH-HITTERS
The Phillies have gotten some nice plate appearances from their pitchers in the past two games. On Saturday, Cliff Lee had a pair of hits and a sacrifice. Vance Worley followed that up with a hit and a sac of his own, with the latter moving Michael Martinez into scoring position. Jimmy Rollins came to the plate next and doubled, scoring Mike Mart.

Worley got off to a great start on the mound, including striking out five batters in a row over the first through third innings. He’d end the day with seven K’s, but was also charged with four earned runs over six innings.

UP NEXT
The Phils head out to Colorado for a three-game set with the Rockies starting tomorrow.

[watch Ibanez's walkoff winner against the Pirates here]

Previously (July 9th): Rauuuuuuul Walks It Off

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US PRESSWIRE photos


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