Of all the people in the lineup, it was Ben Francisco who brought it home. In the Phillies 10-8 come-from-behind victory over the Marlins, Ben Fran singled home two in the eighth, giving the Phils the lead. Two batters later, Wilson Valdez’s swinging bunt brought home Benny for an insurance run.
Brad Lidge pitched a shaky ninth inning, loading the bases before getting Ronny Paulino to pop up to Chase Utley for his third save of the year. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
It certainly has to be bittersweet for Jayson Werth who was given a rest by Charlie Manuel. In his stead, Francisco jumps in and brings home the winning run. Werth certainly will be better for it in the long run, however, it has to be somewhat disappointing for him to be on the sidelines when the team finally awakens from an extended nap.
Here’s a turnaround for you. On a night when the offense WAS clicking, the arms could find no groove. Kyle Kendrick reverted to his old form, giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits, while walking one and K-ing four. Over his previous six starts, KK had been as good as at any point in his up-and-down career, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.79 ERA. He could not match that streak of fine performances as the Marlins touched him up early and often.
Kendrick was scored on in four of his five innings, allowing one in the first and second, and two in the third and fourth. Gaby Sanchez went yard as did Hanley Ramirez, who nearly hit the GEICO sign in left field. All-in-all, not the outing Kendrick would have liked, but on this wild evening, it was good enough to keep his team in the game.
The bullpen wasn’t any better. Chad Durbin pitches two innings and allowed one run in the seventh inning. Jose Contreras did the same in the eighth, allowing Florida to take an 8-7 lead as rookie Mike Stanton scored on a triple by old friend (?) Wes Helms. Luckily, the swinging sticks saved the day.
Welcome back, Phillies offense. One through six in the order all recorded at least one hit, and the man who was headed for the guillotine, Raul Ibanez, went 4-for-5 with two RBI. It’s been a long time coming for Ibanez, who yesterday said he’d found some mechanical errors with his swing and was in the process of readjusting. Did he ever fix that.
The middle of the lineup, the most dysfunctional part for three weeks-plus, was dominant once again. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Francisco, and Ibanez all finished with multiple hits. Hell, even Wilson Valdez got in on the fun, knocking in two runs.
Just to bring the fun down a notch, it could have been even better. The Phillies stranded 10 runners in what is becoming an all-too-familiar habit. We’ll let it slide for the time being, because seeing double digits on the scoreboard is a new and exciting adventure for this offense.
Now the question is: will it last? One game is a step, but putting together a string of efforts mirroring this one is the key to successfully climbing out of the quagmire they’ve been stuck in.