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Joe Blanton eats nine shutout innings in rebound win, Phillies beat Braves 4-0

“You just knew Joe Blanton was going to be the first pitcher to throw a complete game this year,” Chris Wheeler said toward the end of the game.

Of course it was Joe Blanton, the most maligned pitcher on the staff entering the season who picked up the three-hit shutout in his first complete game as a Phillie early Thursday morning.

Of course the Phillies take a 2-0 lead in to the ninth inning after dropping a gut-wrenching 15-13 decision almost 12 hours prior.

Of course Blanton got an infield single in the effort as well.

Of course.

You know why? Because the Phillies once again showed the character that Charlie Manuel has instilled on this team over the last few seasons. Things may not be going so well overall for the team, with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Jim Thome and more on the disabled list, but the Phillies showed just why baseball is a funny sport. After combinging with the Braves for the highest scoring National League game in decades, they got a pitcher’s gem from their fifth starter.

The Phillies even gave Blanton a lead to work with before taking the mound, effectively advancing Jimmy Rollins around the bases and across home plate after a lead-off single with a sacrifice bunt from Juan Pierre, a productive fly out by Shane Victorino and a sac fly by Hunter Pence. The 1-0 held until the seventh when Laynce Nix smacked a solo shot to deep center field, and Victorino’s two-run home run in the ninth provided the insurance runs needed to give Blanton a little more wiggle room.

He didn’t need it of course, and Charlie Manuel didn’t even need to call on his closer, Jonathan Papelbon.

Baseball is a goofy game.

The Phillies are once again back to .500 as they move north to Washington D.C. for a weekend series against the Nationals. The chances of finally getting over .500 don’t look too good though, with Stephen Strasburg scheduled to start tomorrow night against Kyle Kendrick.

The game took about half as long to play compared to last night’s slug fest. Both teams must have wanted to get out of town in a hurry.

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