The game looked to be over as the Phillies trailed the Royals 9-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Could there be more ninth inning magic left over from Saturday?
Ezequiel Carrerra lead off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk. Two batters later, Ben Revere singled. With two on and one out, it still didn’t appear that anything spectacular would happen. Maybe the Phillies would get one run. But Jimmy Rollins changed the momentum with one swing of the bat. Rollins smashed his first home run of the year, a three-run shot. The Phillies were now trailing 9-7. The crowd, who had lost enthusiasm earlier, was now back into the game and fully behind the home team. Maybe there was some magic left after all.
The hits kept coming, and there was hope again. Ryan Howard and Michael Young singled with two outs. Laynce Nix followed with an RBI single to put the Phillies within one. With Erik Kratz up, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. A single would win the game!
The intense, ninth-inning, heart-pounding adrenaline was rushing through the bodies of anxious Phillies fans — a feeling that drives fans crazy, but is needed at the same time. Could Kratz be the hero? Could the Phillies have another miracle comeback?
It was too good to be true. Kratz had a solid at-bat fouling off pitch after pitch, but ultimately struck out swinging.
The problem was not Kratz striking out and failing to come up in the “clutch.” The problem was the pitching… again!
The Phillies jumped to an early 4-0 lead, but Cole Hamels had another bad outing. He gave up eight earned runs on nine hits and four walks. He only struck out two. He surrendered a grand slam in the fifth inning to Billy Butler, who finished the game with seven RBIs.
Don’t put all the blame on Hamels though. Chad Durbin struggled again, as he has yet to find his groove. Durbin relieved Hamels in the sixth inning with two men on and two outs. He allowed a walk, then Billy Butler struck again with a two-run single.
It was great to see that the Phillies weren’t going to go down without a fight, but they really need to step up their pitching. As of now, the Phillies have the worst ERA in baseball, which is somewhat surprising. Hamels had high expectations entering 2013, so seeing him struggle is shocking.
The Phillies lost to the Royals by a final score of 9-8, losing the series 1-2. The Phillies will face the New York Mets next.