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Phillies rough up Suppan again

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McClatchy Tribune
September 25, 2009
— In this yard, with this match up, is where the trek sadly ended.

Miller Park was the setting for Game 4 of last season’s National League Division Series between the visiting Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers.


And right-hander Jeff Suppan, signed to a four-year, $42 million contract because he was supposed to be nails those situations, got the ball.


Three innings, three home runs and five runs later, Suppan was out of the game and the Brewers were eliminated from the playoffs.


Suppan met the powerful Phillies lineup again Thursday.


Same park.


Same results.


Suppan allowed a dozen hits, including five consecutive in a six-run fifth inning, and the Phillies sent him off the field to a smattering of we-still-care boos from the Brewers faithful in what eventually became a 9-4 loss, although this time the stakes were not nearly as high.


The Brewers have officially been eliminated from the post-season and the Phillies are just whittling their magic number before they can pop some champagne bottles, no such October rematch in sight for the teams.


“We had a great ball game going, 2-1,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “Both guys are making some pitches.


“But once it started going, it went.”


Like an avalanche.


Suppan allowed runs in the first and fourth but managed to duck further damage in those innings and in the second.


Then things got difficult to watch for anyone who associates themselves with the Brewers.


Jayson Werth reached on a throwing error by shortstop Alcides Escobar to usher in Philadelphia’s fight at the bat rack with one out in the fifth.


Ben Francisco and Pedro Feliz singled and Paul Bako drove in Francisco with another single. The hits kept coming with pitcher J.A. Happ singling to center to score Feliz.


Jimmy Rollins, who led off that final NLDS game with a homer against Suppan, demolished another one off the facing of the second deck in right to score three more, ending Suppan’s attempt at slight revenge.


His final line that netted him his 11th loss of the season: 41/3 innings, 12 hits, eight runs, seven earned, two walks, two strikeouts.


Suppan said he got fast with his delivery out of the stretch, making him miss the glove badly.


“I just wasn’t able to make the pitches I would have liked and they put up a big number,” Suppan said. “Really I was trying to mix it up. Having me in the stretch pretty much the whole game, they did a good job of that.


“I was trying to get a little faster to the plate . . . a little faster with the arm. I think it had an affect on my pitch location.”


Meanwhile, Phillies rookie-of-the-year candidate Happ was putting away the Brewers as easily as folded laundry by professionals.


He got the side in order in the first, striking out Ryan Braun for the third out and then struck out Prince Fielder, fellow rookie award candidate Casey McGehee and Mike Cameron in the second.


Happ allowed a run in the third when leftfielder Francisco left his feet to catch Jason Kendall’s hit with one out. It got by Francisco for a triple and Kendall scored on Felipe Lopez’s single.


The Brewers didn’t make any more noise until the sixth when McGehee’s bloop double down the right-field line scored Fielder, who also doubled with Hart on first, but Hart was thrown out after a collision with Bako at the plate.


Happ was taken out after walking Cameron in the inning. He allowed two runs on six hits in 52/3 innings. He struck out seven. The Brewers had scoring chances but stranded 11 runners, including five by Ryan Braun, one of the league’s best hitters, who struck out twice with two runners on.



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