Top Moment #17: Fair? Foul? Either way, a Win in Florida – Phillies Nation
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Top Moment #17: Fair? Foul? Either way, a Win in Florida

For eight innings, things were mostly uneventful on August 5. The Phillies were trailing the Marlins, 4-2, in South Florida, and the Phillies’ three-game winning streak was in some hot water. Roy Oswalt had a middling start turned into a deficit by J.C. Romero, while Chris Volstad and a pair of Marlins relievers held the Phils at bay.

The, the ninth inning rolled around, and things began to get interesting. Placido Polanco led off by reaching on a Hanley Ramirez error. Ross Gload followed with a single off Marlins reliever Leo Nunez, and Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth chipped in with their own RBI hits to tie the game.

So, with runners on first and third with no one out, the Phillies looked primed to take the lead. A series of baserunning gaffes, however, curiously ended the threat. If you don’t want to subject yourself to the highlight video, the blow-by-blow was as follows:

  • Raul Ibanez is caught between third and home on a grounder to first, one out.
  • Jayson Werth is picked off second, two out.
  • Domonic Brown, who reached on Ibanez’s fielder’s choice, is caught stealing second with Chooch up, three out.

So, with a combination of two mental errors and a suspect strategic decision, the Phillies had squandered a chance to take the lead in the ninth. The Marlins, looking to capitalize, had Hanley Ramirez leading off against Ryan Madson. Madson plunks Hanley, strikes out Logan Morrison as Hanley steals second, and settles in to face Marlins rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Then, on a 1-1 pitch, Madson threw a fastball that Sanchez appeared to pull a should-have-been game-winning hit down the third base line.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The “hit” was deemed foul, Sanchez proceeded to strike out, and Madson escaped trouble. Fittingly, Ruiz, still at-bat after being at the plate when Brown was caught stealing, led off the tenth with a laser home run, a solo shot that proved to be the deciding margin in a wacky late-inning affair. Some saw it as karmic payback (albeit a month-and-a-half late) for a Braves win against the Tigers in June that had its own curious circumstances.

Whatever the case, with a little help, the Phils had stretched out a four-game winning streak, and remained hot on Atlanta’s heels.

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  1. Manny

    January 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Actually, I was down in Florida for this game. It was my first time at Sun Life stadium.. Or whatever that thing is called now. The final innings of this game were spectacular. Elfin chooch hit that hard… And those base running mistakes were embarrassing. Thought we were gonna lose, then win, then lose… And bam. We won. These are the best type of games to witness. Good on your nerves!

  2. philsphan80

    January 22, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I still can’t understand what every commentator was complaining about. They should re-read the rules of the game. It doesn’t matter where the ball lands, it matters where the ball goes over the third base bag. It was the right call by the umpire and the Marlins and their dozens of fans were just in need of something to cry over.

    • betasigmadeltashag

      January 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Sorry Philsphan80, they all know the rules, as do I, and the only problem is the ball is fair before third base then bounces fair in the outfield so unless there was some kind of incrediable spin on that ball there is no much chance that ball did not go over the base. But I will take the win, I am sure if you scoure all the Phillies games, there have been some blown calls that went against them. That is what is great about baseball, 162 games some go against you some go for you

  3. TheDocIsIn

    January 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Raul got picked off on purpose to avoid there from being a double play. He made no mistake, that was actually a smart play.

    • Lefty

      January 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      That’s not the strategy I would employ with first and third no one out. Maybe you wait and send Raul once you see the first baseman make the throw to second to get the lead runner, but you’re not even sure he’ll do that. Raul was going on the crack of the bat, probably not his decision, but one way or the other the decision was made already. Now I’ve never coached at a high level, but I just think it was a mistake. If you’re saying that Raul did a good job once it was clear he was a dead duck, fine. But why send him on the crack of the bat with runners on the corners in a tie game ninth inning with no outs and no force at third?

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