2010 Top Moments

Top Moment #24: Lidge balks at save, Polanco comes through in extras

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Top 25 Moments of 2010, as voted on by the staff of this fine blog. Amanda Orr spent countless hours calculating, tabulating, and anticipating – so, please enjoy.

Ah the ninth inning. You will never be the same. I remember when this was my comfort zone. However, sometimes last season, I couldn’t even watch.

In 2008 Lidge was so sharp. But the past two seasons, the ninth inning has become heart burn central. To give Lidge credit, he was coming up with new ways to blow it. He wasn’t just serving up moon shots every time. Up to this point in the season Lidge had four blown saves. On this August night it would be his fifth in 22 chances.

The Phillies came into the game losing six of their last eight and had just suffered a four game sweep at home by the Houston Astros. They were back in the NL East and the Wild Card and taking on a very good San Diego Padres team. I wouldn’t say there were desperate for a win, but they were due.

Roy Oswalt was on the mound pitching beautifully and hopefully on his way to his fourth straight win with his new club. He had given up a third inning home run to Yorvit Torrealba and that was it. He went eight innings allowing the one run and struck out 6.

Oswalt’s counterpart, the 22-year-old Mat Latos pitched well in his own right going seven innings, allowing one run and striking out six. He then handed the ball off to the league’s best bullpen. The Phillies were able to snag a run in the eighth off a bases loaded single from Raul Ibanez.

Enter Brad Lidge for the ninth. Matt Stairs started off the inning with a single off his former closer and then was sacrificed to second by David Eckstein. A ground out by Miguel Tejada and Lidge was one out away from the save. And this is where is got interesting. Like I said earlier, Lidge was getting creative in his blown saves. This one might top the list.

Lidge issued an intentional walk to the Padres slugging first basemen Adrian Gonzalez. A good move by Charlie Manuel putting a force out in order in end the inning. Which would have worked out perfectly except no one told Lidge. He plunked the next batter, Ryan Ludwick, in the hand to load the bases.

“Basically I had to step off or I would have fallen on my face,” Lidge said. “It’s kind of hard to explain. It happened pretty quick. Suffice it say I wasn’t thrilled about that, and probably in a million more windups, something like that wouldn’t happen.”

That is how Lidge explained the balk that allowed the tying run to score. After the balk Chase Headley grounded out to end the inning.

Jimmy Rollins lead off the 12th inning with a double and scored on a Placido Polanco single despite a good throw from centerfielder Luis Durango. Chad Durbin finish his second inning of work for the Phillies win.

It was one of those games where the Phillies surprise you once again. You always know they can find ways to win, but when they find ways to almost lose it just makes you scratch your head. Then when it’s all over you kind of whisper to yourself, ‘Damn, I love this team.’

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