Until March 27, we’ll be counting down the 50 greatest Phillies games of the last 50 years. This is 50 of 50.
And this is No. 41.
THE DATE: October 5, 2008
THE GAME: Game 4, National League Division Series
THE STAKES: The chance to win their first postseason series since 1993 and advance to the NLCS
THE GREAT: After another sprint to the finish line to claim their second National League East title, the Phils found themselves in a tough matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2008 NLDS. After winning the first two games at home, the Phils lost Game 3 in Milwaukee. While I was still confident, I would be lying if I said a little bit of doubt didn’t start to creep into my mind.
Miller Park was bumping for the start of the game and you could just feel the electricity and tension through the television. As if sensing my anxiety, Jimmy Rollins led off with one of his classic right-field home runs and suddenly I could breathe a bit better. Still, the Phils needed to give Joe Blanton more support than they gave Jamie Moyer the night before – one run wasn’t going to cut it.
In the top of the third, Shane Victorino doubled with one-out and advanced to third on a groundout by Chase Utley. Two outs.
As per usual, Jeff Suppan decided to intentionally walk Ryan Howard to get to Burrell. Seemed like a smart move with Burrell only registering one hit in the series. But with a 2-2 count, Burrell launched one to left field. It exited the field so fast Burrell was barely out of the batters box before it landed in the seats.
With one swing of the bat, the momentum completely shifted and you could feel the air being sucked out of Miller Park. Burrell went on to become just the second Phillie at the time to hit two home runs in a playoff game with his solo home run in the top of the eighth to give the Phils a 6-2 lead.
After struggling throughout the series, Burrell wasn’t even sure if he’d be in the lineup for Game 4. To hit two home runs and send the team you were drafted by and spent nine seasons with to the Championship Series is a career highlight, for sure.
Those two home runs weren’t the biggest hits in his career, however. That would come later. He certainly went out on top.