It was ugly, but we’ll take it. After looking like the Phillies were going to waste another excellent start from Cole Hamels, the team rallied in the ninth to score four runs and win their first game of the second half. The Philly 9 were helped of course by a 2009 Lidge-esque performance by Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.
The game progressed much like the one on Friday without any runs throughout the first handful of innings. The Phillies wasted a few opportunities with some overly aggressive base-running and an inability to score a run with the bases loaded in the sixth. Then in the seventh, Lou Pinella pulled a John McGraw and called for a suicide squeeze – it was easily successful and the Cubs jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Hamels was pulled after going seven strong, mostly scattering 8 hits and 2 walks with 6 strikeouts. Cole pitched very well, changing velocities and even using his curveball to catch Geovany Soto looking in the sixth.
But the ninth inning was where all the action happened. With Dobbs, Schneider and Gload due up, many thought this afternoon was not going to witness a Phillies comeback. But down only a run – and then an out after Dobbs popped up – the rest of the lineup was able to get it going. With Schneider on second and Gload on first, Placido Polanco singled to left and the Phils backup catcher dashed home. He was dead at the plate, but Soto was unable to hold onto the ball and the Phillies tied it. The next few batters proceeded to carousel around the bases on a wild pitch, walk and infield single. With the score 4-1, Brad Lidge came on to close things out with just a smidgen of drama.
Last time I was in Chicago, the Phils lost the first two games of the series then won the next two, then went on a bit of a tear to close out the 2008 season.
Here are some photos from the afternoon.