Pedro Feliz singled in the ninth inning to tie it. Then he stepped up in the 11th with two men on. One swing later, and all three were home. The Phillies won off Feliz’s home run, taking game three of the four-game set with the Dodgers 5-2.
Feliz came into the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, yet scored four RBI and proved to be the team’s big clutch hitter. Just as important as Feliz’s execution was the setup by Shane Victorino. He singled to lead off the ninth, scoring the tying run on Feliz’s single. Then he singled to left field to open the eleventh, but turned it up while watching Manny Ramirez lazily toss the ball back in, sliding into second with a huge double. He would score the winning run.
Watching Victorino brings up two crucial points.
One: The difference between Vic and Ramirez. The Dodgers obviously will benefit from Ramirez’s offensive prowess, but his ho-hum throw and lazy effort getting thrown out in a clutch double play show he’s still a pretty annoying ballplayer that won’t do everything to win. Meanwhile, Vic hustles to second because he knows he can.
Two: The difference between Vic and Jimmy Rollins. Is Vic becoming the team leader? He hustles, yells and hollers, makes huge plays all the time, sets up big innings. Meanwhile, Rollins is doing more with his mouth than his legs, can’t come up big anytime, and is now hitting a horrendous .255. A far cry from MVP.
Back to the game — Feliz also made a huge play in the 10th. Chad Durbin loaded the bases with nobody out, but induced a chopper that Feliz immediately turned into a textbook 5-2 double play. A fly out ended the threat and inning. Credit Feliz for the big play, but also credit Durbin for seeing his way out of the mess.
A Chase Utley single scored the Phils’ first run, but they had trouble again against Hiroki Kuroda, scoring just two hits off him. Joe Blanton pitched just as well, going six and striking out four while giving up six hits. The Phils bullpen gave up the Dodgers’ go-ahead run, with JC Romero and Ryan Madson combining to do the deed. Brad Lidge kept the Dodgers at bay in the ninth.
Associated Press photo