Phils hope scrappy win can begin turnaround
Was this the start of a Phillies’ turnaround?
Or are they just temporarily feasting on a team that’s worse than them?
Time will tell, but for now, Shane Victorino is pulling for the turnaround.
“Hopefully this will kick-start something,” he said after the Phils staged a dramatic two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Colorado Rockies, 7-6, at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay)
“This is the energy we need to play with,” Victorino added. “We stayed focused. We played till the last out. Hopefully this will put us in the right direction.”
This was the type of win that has been missing from the Phillies all season. Eight times they have suffered walk-off defeats. Only twice – May 15 and Wednesday night -- have they won a game in walk-off fashion.
They pulled off this walk-off win the Pete Rose way. They hustled their way to it.
The Rockies (25-42) rallied for a run against Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-5 lead.
Colorado was one out from putting the game away when Ty Wigginton, who had entered the game in the eighth inning, singled to left against Rafael Betancourt to keep the game alive. The next batter, Hunter Pence, scorched a 1-1 pitch off the leftfield wall to score a chugging Wigginton from first with the tying run.
Betancourt walked Carlos Ruiz intentionally and Victorino beat out a ball up the middle for an infield hit.
Up came Placido Polanco with the bases loaded. Betancourt threw Polanco two balls then evened the count at 2-2. Polanco hit a ball up the middle that shortstop Marco Scutaro ran down behind second base. Scutaro threw to first and would have gotten Polanco for the third out, but first baseman Todd Helton’s foot was off the bag and Polanco was able squeak in safely to allow the winning run to score.
After the game, Helton took the blame, saying he thought the ball was headed to the outfield and he didn’t get to the bag on time.
Polanco beat Helton to the bag by a few toes.
“They all count,” Polanco said. “It doesn’t matter how you win. We had some tough at-bats at the end and it paid off.”
It wasn’t the prettiest way to win a game, but the Phillies weren’t throwing it back. It allowed them to remain eight games behind victorious Washington in the NL East. The Phils have won two in a row for just the second time this month and both wins have come at the start of this 10-game homestand.
“That was a big finish for us,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Vic beat a ball out. Polanco hit a ball up the middle ... Just hustling at the end got us this win. We definitely need some games like this. They get you more spirited. Hopefully it carries over.”
The Phillies’ pitching was not stellar, though reliever Antonio Bastardo did pitch out of trouble in the eighth. Starter Joe Blanton allowed three home runs to raise his season total to 17, the most in the NL. The three home runs came in the first four innings. Blanton did manage to retire the last 11 batters he faced to keep the Phils alive.
Blanton has allowed at least five runs in six of his last seven starts and his ERA over that span is 7.44.
Despite allowing the three home runs, Blanton thought he pitched well.
“I felt in control the whole game,” he said. “It was just one of those games where you throw pitches to a spot and they get hit.
“Some other outings when you give up runs you feel out of control the whole game and you're making mistakes. I really didn't feel like that tonight. That's baseball. Sometimes you don't have any luck. That's what happens. I feel fine with the way I threw the ball.”
It has been a month since the Phillies have won at least three in a row. They will try to do that Thursday night behind Vance Worley.E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com