Casey Blake started the Dodger rush in the sixth inning, the rush that gave Los Angeles a two-run lead at 5-3. At that point, the game looked grim. I changed the channel for a few minutes — I needed to clear my head.
This doesn’t look good, I thought.
By the time the eighth inning rolled around, I was watching with caution, trying not to get wrapped up, trying not to let my emotions swallow me. I watched as Ryan Howard singled to lead off the eighth. Good job, Ryan, I thought. Then Pat Burrell flied out harmlessly. Eh, I thought. Then Shane Victorino walked to the box.
And at that very moment, I swear to you all, I thought, “he’s going yard.”
So I watched as Victorino stood against with Cory Wade. And he met the ball, and it began its ascent. “Oh, a double. Nice,” I thought as it came off the bat.
But it kept flying.
And just like Victorino, the ball flew enough to deposit itself into Phillie franchise history. Tie ballgame. I stood and hollared; we were back in business.
With the sacks erased, and one out later, Carlos Ruiz punched a pitch into left field (boy, he gets under-the-radar hits in the biggest spots). That brought in Jonathan Broxton, and that brought in Matt Stairs.
Fastball pitcher. Power vs. power. Righty vs. lefty. Stairs was due. Again, and yes, I swear, I thought, “he’s hitting this out.”
The magnificent bomb landed somewhere in the blue and white crowd, and Stairs landed in the history books with a shot heard ’round the 215.
I know it’s a cheesy thing to say “I called those blasts,” but really, it’s no stretch. Not after seeing Victorino take CC Sabathia out of the postseason picture. Not after seeing this team do its business game in and game out. Not after Chase Utley made a superb unassisted double play to save his bullpen, and Ryan Madson pitched through the seventh inning, and Joe Blanton did just enough to keep it close.
This Phillie team — as we’ve been saying all along — is all business. They do what they need to do to win (Jayson Werth said it best). And Vic knew what he needed to do. When Stairs came up, he knew, Charlie Manuel knew, the players knew, the fans knew, the announcers knew, everyone knew he had one goal: Hit a home run. That’s what he needed to do. No doubt he was going to.
So when those moments occur, when necessity matches the moment, you can bet assuredly that the Phils should come through. Whether it’s all-universe Victorino (who is stamping his Phillie legend) or all-beerleague Stairs, the guys in red find their way to victory.