Opinion

The Top Five Games of the 1st Half

Eight-run 7th against Braves for first win: (April 8th)

The natives were restless. The Phillies opened the year against the Atlanta Braves and quickly dropped the first two games.  The third and final game of that series looked eerily similar to the previous two.  

Down 10-3 going into the seventh inning, it appeared to be all but over.  Then, the Braves forgot how to throw over the plate.  In that fateful seventh, four Phillies walked with the bases loaded and 13 batters stepped to the plate.  Eight runs in all were scored and with an insurance run coming in the eighth inning, the Phils walked away 12-11 winners.

It was an early glimpse of the prolific offense that scored the second most runs in the NL in 2008.  

Phils score seven in the 9th to beat Marlins: (April 24th)

For eight innings, the Phils stunk – plain and simple.  Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson cruised through seven shutout innings, striking out eight and allowing only three hits.  The Marlins bullpen got it into the hands of closer Matt Lindstrom in the ninth, and things took off.  

With two on and one out, and down 3-0, Matt Stairs singled in Jayson Werth for the first run.  After a Lou Marson walk to load the bases, Jimmy Rollins subsequently walked for the second run of the inning.  Then came the fireworks.

Shane Victorino crushed a 2-1 offering into the right field bleachers for a grand slam, catapulting the Phils to a 6-3 lead.  A Chase Utley solo shot followed and ensured the Phillies a 7-3 victory over their division rival.  Just call them the comeback kids.

Ibanez, Howard slam Washington: (April 27th)

It was an unseasonably warm April night, and the ball was flying out.

Down 6-2 in the fifth inning, Ryan Howard deposited a ball off of the bricks in center field, 427 feet away from home plate.  The grand slam tied the game at six.  However, the fun would not end there.

After Nick Johnson and Adam Dunn each homered for the Nats in the top of the eighth, the Phils were in need of a rally.  Shane Victorino and Chase Utley each knocked in a run before the bases became jammed for everyone’s new favorite Phillie, Raul Ibanez.  

On the first pitch he saw from Joel Hanrahan, Ibanez laced it down the right field line, keeping it just fair.  The second granny of the game proved to be another game winner, and yet another come-from-behind win against a divisional opponent.

Phils spank Cincinnati scoring 22 runs:  (July 6th)Philadelphia Phillies' Paul Bako follows through on his hit that scored the game winning run in the ninth inning of a baseball game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, July 11, 2009, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 8-7. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Just one week ago, an offensive onslaught of epic proportions vaulted the Phillies confidence to a season high.  

Going into that match up, the Phils were about to face rising star Johnny Cueto, he of the sub-three ERA.  That earned run average was damaged beyond recognition after just one inning.  

Thirteen batters stepped to the dish, five extra-base hits were ripped – including three home runs – and 10 runs in all were scored. Oh, but the run-scoring carousel was far from over.

One run in the second, one in the third, and four in the fourth – add it up – put the Phils up 16-1 just as the sun was setting. With six more added in the eighth, 22 was the number on the scoreboard above Harry the K’s. You’ll no doubt remember this game for a long, long time.  

Come-from-behind win in 9th over Pirates: (July 10th)

What a way to lead into the All-Star break.  

All but dead leading into the ninth, and with scary skies looming overhead, the Phillies put on yet another late-inning show. Down 7-3, and facing Pirates closer Matt Capps, they had their work cut out for them.

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs led off the ninth with, you guessed it, a home run.  J-Roll walked, Utley singled, and Big Brown, Ryan Howard, stepped into one.  Howard blasted it into the right-center field seats, tying the game at seven.  

Three batters later, new addition Paul Bako ended it on a single to left field.  Manager Charlie Manuel stated, “That was one of the best wins of the year.”  

As Phillies fans have learned, never, ever leave CBP early.

Honorable Mention:

  •     Hamels complete game shutout against L.A. (June 4)
  •     J.A. Happ complete game shutout (June 27)
  •     Blanton, Phils blank Santana, Mets (July 5)

 

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