Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Different day, different heros for Phils

Another day, more late inning heroics, another victory. I'd say things are going pretty well.

Last night's game had it all: a pitching duel, clutching hitting, home runs, late inning drama, long hard fought at bats and a benches clearing brawl. OK, I made that last part up, but that's just about the only excitement missing from last night's series opener in Colorado.

The Phillies were down to their last strike in the top of the ninth with Rockies' closer Huston Street on the mound. who'd converted 28 of 30 saves. John Mayberry Jr. came to the plate to pinch hit representing the tying run with a runner aboard, trailing 3-1.

Mayberry fell behind early, flailing wildly at a nasty slider that ran down and off the plate. But then Mayberry shortened his stroke, laying off sliders off the plate and fouling off strikes. He knew Street wasn't going to throw him a fastball. He just needed to make a mistake. He did. Mayberry ripped a game tying, pinch-hit two-run home run over the left-field fence, capping a hard fought at bat. The Phillies' bench knew it right away, celebrating with the crack of the bat. Utley's reaction is about the most emotion Philadelphia has ever seen out of him.

Jimmy Rollins followed, crushing a ball to right-center that looked like a go-ahead home run, only to watch it settle into Dexter Fowler's glove at the wall.

Rex Brothers replaced Street in the top of the tenth to a rude greeting. No, not from Rockies' fans. Shane Victorino lead-off and crushed a high fast ball to left for a go-ahead run, and the Phils would remarkably take the game 4-3; their first lead of the game.

Both starters were tremendous. Cole Hamels was about to take another tough luck loss, after allowing two runs on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts over six innings. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh with the tying run in scoring position, but Ross Gload grounded out.

Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin was even better, once again stifling the Phils by allowing just one run on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts over 7.1 innings. In 14.1 innings against the Phils this year, he's allowed just two runs and struck out eleven.

Michael Stutes surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced in the seventh, but settled in to pitch two solid innings.

Raul Ibanez knocked in the Phils' other run in the seventh with an RBI double that just missed clearing the fence, scoring Hunter Pence.

Kyle Kendrick (5-5, 3.52) takes the ball tonight in what is likely his last start for some time with Roy Oswalt expected back over the weekend. The Rockies will send Aaron Cook (2-5 5.05) to oppose him.

Kendrick started against Colorado back on May 19 and got lit up for five runs over three innings, taking the loss.

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