In front of the largest crowd at Citizens Bank Park history, the Phillies lined up against Brewers ace CC Sabathia, and patiently, then painfully, shot him down. Behind the offense and a beautiful start by Brett Myers, the Phillies won 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series.
The win had two obvious stars. First, there’s Shane Victorino, who ripped a two-strike Sabathia pitch into the left field seats for a grand slam. It put the Phils up 5-1, securing a win and lifting the bank to mammoth noise levels. Not to be lost in the madness, Victorino also doubled twice and was intentionally walked. Yeah, when you’re intentionally walked in front of Chase Utley, you’re doing something right.
The other star was clearly Myers, who settled in after a tough first inning and was dominant against Milwaukee. He kept the ball low, he mixed his pitches, he wasn’t afraid to throw balls. In all, he induced 10 ground ball outs and four strikeouts in seven solid innings of two-hit ball. But the most memorable moment of Myers’ start was on the other side. Before Vic knocked his granny, Myers kept the inning alive. With two outs and a runner on third, Myers quickly went down 0-and-2 to Sabathia. Then, he took a ball. Then a foul. Then another ball. Another foul. Cheering. Ball. Full count — wild. Foul. Crowd going nuts. Ball four. Myers’ legendary at bat helped load the bases for Vic.
He did it once more in the fourth. Handicapped with an 0-2 count again, he fouled off pitches and took more balls, leading to a fly ball out, but forever winning the respect of Philadelphians. Myers made Sabathia throw 19 pitches in his two at bats — 19 percent of Sabathia’s pitches. Unbelievable. And as Myers wore down Sabathia at the plate, the crowd helped keep Sabathia on edge. Together, they helped take down the beast.
Other players helped contribute to the cause. Jimmy Rollins had two hits, and Jayson Werth also had two. The heart of the offense, however, had an 0-fer — not exactly a good thing. Still, the Phils made it look easy — really, really easy. Charlie Manuel even had the stones to throw Brad Lidge in the ninth again; this time, the closer had a simple 12-pitch inning to grab another save.
Associated Press photo