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07/23/08 12:47 AM ET
Blanton, shaky in debut, celebrates win
Phils' newly acquired right-hander earns no-decision vs. Mets
By Kevin Horan / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Joe Blanton doesn't want all of his starts to go the way his did on Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. But the pitcher still got to celebrate at the end of the night. Blanton, freshly acquired by the Phils in a trade with Oakland last week, lasted six innings in his Phillies debut against the Mets on Tuesday, giving up five runs, including two homers. The 27-year-old left the game with his team in a four-run hole. But if he was dwelling on any mistakes he made Tuesday night, they were quickly brushed aside as he watched Philadelphia charge back with six runs in the ninth inning to beat New York, 8-6. "Once we got a couple of hits and got it going, I had a feeling about it," Blanton said. "When we got runners on, we had guys come through in the clutch." Blanton hadn't pitched in the past 13 days leading up to Tuesday's start, and he said he felt traces of rust lingering during his pregame warmups and into the beginning of the game. His first sign of trouble came in the third inning, when he walked Jose Reyes to lead off the frame. The speedy shortstop scored on a double by David Wright, and New York added two more when Carlos Delgado blasted a two-run shot. In the sixth, the Mets added two more on a two-run shot by Ramon Castro. "He got hurt with a couple big mistakes," pitching coach Rich Dubee said. "He left a couple breaking balls up -- those were costly." Still, Dubee was happy with Blanton's tendency to attack hitters. The Phillies were looking for a reliable starter to fill Adam Eaton's spot in the rotation after Eaton was bumped into the bullpen last week. They think Blanton can provide that -- he was tied for sixth in innings pitched in the American League at the time he was acquired. "He had to get his feet on the ground," Dubee said. "He's still getting acclimated to a new scene, a new environment. I think he'll only get better as it goes along."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.