Add one part thin air, one part erupting offense, one part bad pitching and you get a Coors Original. Not the beer, but a shootout in Denver, just like old times.
The Phillies squeaked by the Colorado Rockies to take the May 11 makeup game, 12-11. Everywhere you looked, something was happening – good or bad. First, the good:
Chase Utley hit a game winning grand slam in the seventh inning, finally breaking out of his season-long slumber. Up until the past few days, he’d been struggling with his swing, and the question became: did Utley come back too fast after injuring a thumb ligament. He silenced the critics with a 2-for-4, six RBI night.
Ryan Howard also went yard in the nine-run seventh, a two-run blast. Howard has also been a relative absentee for the Phillies since his stint on the disabled list ended. That’s now two homers in the last three games for a guy who is notorious for heating up late in the year.
Jayson Werth would not be left out of the fun as he provided some power himself, something seldom seen this season. He hit the other homer in that ridiculous seventh inning, his 19th on the year. In all, 12 Phillies stepped to the plate, nine of them scored.
Offensively as a whole, the Phillies put together 15 hits. They battered the Rockies bullpen, but they themselves were nearly stripped of a win by their own relief crew.
After Joe Blanton was embarrassed, giving up six runs (four earned) over 10 hits in just 4 1/3 innings, the Phillies bullpen did little to give the faithful an easy feeling. Antonio Bastardo struggled through an inning before giving way to the fireworks. Chad Durbin came in the game at 12-7 and it quickly became 12-10. Romero and Contreras teamed up for a scoreless eighth, but the ninth inning was a nail biter.
Brad Lidge was duped by his defense on the first batter as Ryan Howard committed an error, allowing speedster Dexter Fowler to reach base. Red-hot Carlos Gonzalez singled to move Fowler to third a batter later, providing Troy Tulowitzki the opportunity to make it a one-run game. He did so on a fielders choice, and just like that a 7-3 Rockies lead, which had turned to a 12-7 Phillies lead, became 12-11 in the final frame.
Lidge was able to bear down, throwing his patented slider seven times in eight pitches to Clint Barmes and Ryan Spilborghs, both of whom he retired to end the threat. It wasn’t easy, but it is a victory for the Phils, and a big one at that.
Atlanta finally lost to the New York Mets tonight, so the Phils jumped to two back in the NL East and now have a two game lead in the Wild Card.
Hell of a road trip! They finish it 6-1 and now head back to Philadelphia for a weekend set with the Milwaukee Brewers. September has always been a favorite of Ryan Howard’s and the Phillies. They’ve proven that with two big wins to start it off.