Mesa and Stupid Fan Kill Phillies in 5-4 Loss

Just when we thought it was safe. Brandon Duckworth went deeper into a game and pitched better than he has all season. A revamped batting order put at least a little spark to the Phillies and the Phillies even got a couple of calls to go their way and it looked like the Phillies were going to at least salvage one game against the Seattle Mariners. Then, it all happened. Jose Mesa entered and it was all downhill from there.

Jose Mesa (1-4) gave up as many hits in one inning of work as Brandon Duckworth and Rheal Cormier did over eight innings. Duckworth seemed to have a full grasp of how to get hitters out, pitching seven strong innings and striking out seven hitters, while allowing just two earned runs. He allowed four hits, including a leadoff double to Ichiro Suzuki in the first inning that led to the Mariners first run of the night. The other big hit that he gave up was Brett Boone's 17th homerun of the season, but it was a solo shot and didn't do too much damage at the time.

The Phillies got an RBI single from Duckworth and a sacrifice fly from Placido Polanco, the Phillies new leadoff hitter, in the second inning to erase the Mariners 1-0 lead and take a 2-1 lead for themselves. The Phillies increased their lead in the third when with runners on first and second, Mike Lieberthal doubled to put the Phillies up 4-1 with nobody out in the inning. Joel Pineiro, who started for Seattle, then got Ricky Ledee to strike out, Pat Burrell to fly out and Tomas Perez to ground out to end the inning without any further damage.

As Duckworth worked his way through the lineup, Boone led off the fourth inning with his solo homerun to cut the Phillies lead to 4-2. Duckworth then got back on track and pitched through the seventh inning without allowing any further damage. Cormier came on to pitch a perfect eighth inning and the Phillies went to the ninth with a 4-2 lead.

Mesa entered the game and promptly fell behind Boone, who singled to center. Mesa followed that up with a walk to John Olerud, putting runners on first and second. Mike Cameron then tried to sacrifice the runners over and bunted the first two pitches foul. With an 0-2 count, Cameron was swinging away and Mesa hung a curve ball that Cameron promptly air mailed to the Mariners bullpen in left field as Seattle celebrated their new found 5-4 lead. It wasn't easy, but Mesa worked through the rest of the inning without allowing another run.

The Phillies seemed determined to pull the game out in the ninth. Perez led off the inning with a single, sending Jason Michaels, who had entered the game as part of a double-switch, to the plate. Michaels hit a ball down the first base line that fell perfectly and bounced toward the seats. Nick Punto, who ran for Perez, was heading down the third base line when a fan reached out and grabbed the ball, making it a ground rule double and sending Punto back to third. Kazuhiro Sasaki then got Polanco to hit a ball to third that Jeff Cirillo fielded and held Punto at third before throwing out Polanco. Jimmy Rollins then drew a walk to load the bases for Jim Thome. It seemed like the perfect way to end the game, but Thome didn't come through and struck out after getting ahead 2-0. Bobby Abreu then came up with bases loaded and two out and hit a fly ball to end the game and give Seattle their ninth win in a row and thirteenth straight on the road.

Rookie Julio Mateo (1-0) got the win and Sasaki notched his tenth save of the season.

The Phillies now face the Oakland A's in a weekend series at The Vet. Barry Zito (6-4, 2.94) faces Brett Myers (5-4, 2.76) in the series opener Friday night.

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