Game three of the NLDS didn’t end until about two o’clock in the morning Philadelphia time, but when it was over the Phillies had a 6-5 win to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series with the Colorado Rockies. The Phils won a tight game late thanks to contributions from a pair of players whose seasons didn’t have you expecting a whole lot from them in the playoffs. Jimmy Rollins sparked a ninth-inning rally with a leadoff single and scored the run that won the game for the Phils. Brad Lidge shut out the lights on a game that badly needed its lights shut out, getting Troy Tulowitzki on a soft fly ball to left for the final out of the game with the winning run on first.
It was a close and exciting game, but not a great game. Nobody pitched especially well or looked especially comfortable playing with the temperature in the low 30′s. The most exciting play of the game may have been Utley hitting a ball off his leg that wound up going about ten feet down the first base line. Nobody on the Phillies can get out Carlos Gonzalez, almost literally. He’s 8-for-13 in the series (.615) after going 3-for-4 last night and scoring three of the five Colorado runs.
The Phillies also suffered what could prove to be a big injury in the bottom of the seventh as Scott Eyre sprained his right ankle coming off the mound to try and field a bunt. The Phils already had a lot of problems with left-handers and losing the one guy who has been fantastic probably isn’t going to help. Bastardo looks like he may be the only lefty available tonight out of the pen for the Phils. Other possibilities are Eyre, who hurt his ankle last night, Hamels, who is scheduled to start game five if it’s needed, or Happ, who started yesterday and threw three innings and 76 pitches. So it looks like it may just be Bastardo.
The Phils lead the Rockies two games to one in the best-of-five NLDS after winning last night’s game 6-5.
JA Happ got the start for the Phillies and went three innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double by Garrett Atkins. He struck out four.
He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Gonzalez (LF/L) (2) Fowler (CF/S) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Torrealba (C/R) (6) Atkins (3B/R) (7) Spilborghs (RF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). That’s the same lineup as game two, but with Torrealba and Atkins switched after Torrealba homered off of Hamels on Thursday.
The Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi, Ian Stewart, Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith on the bench to start the game, along with righty and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young.
Happ started the bottom of the first up 1-0 thanks to an Utley blast in the top of the first. Gonzalez led off and singled into center on a 3-1 pitch. Fowler was next and he got way ahead, too. The 3-1 pitch looked low, but Happ got the strike before Fowler singled into left. It put men on first and third with nobody out for Helton. Helton hit a slow ground ball to second. Utley got the first out at second, but the Phillies could not turn two and Gonzalez scored to make it 1-1 with one out and a man on first. Tulowitzki followed with another hit, a single to center, and Helton went to second. Happ struck Torrealba out swinging for the second out. Atkins was next and it looked like Happ had struck him out, too, but the 2-2 pitch was called low. Atkins singled into left on the next pitch and Helton scored from second. 2-1. Spilborghs was next and smashed a ball to center field, but Victorino took it to end the inning.
Thirty-five pitch first inning for Happ.
Barmes grounded to short to start the second, but the pitcher Hammel was next and Happ walked him on five pitches. Gonzalez popped a 1-0 pitch to short for the second out and Happ struck Fowler out swinging 3-2 to set the side down.
Seventeen more pitches had Happ at 52.
Helton started the bottom of the third for Colorado and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was low. Tulowitzki flew softly to right for the first out and Happ got Torrealba swinging 1-2 for the second. Atkins was next, though, and he smashed a ball over the head of Victorino for a double. Helton scored from first without a throw and the Rockies led 3-1. Happ struck Spilborghs out to leave Atkins stranded.
Twenty-four more pitches in the inning for Happ. 76.
Blanton started the bottom of the fourth after the Phils hit for Happ in the top of the inning. The Phils were up 4-3. Barmes popped to first for the first out. The pitcher Matt Belisle hit for himself and grounded to short for the second. Gonzalez was next and he hammered a 2-1 pitch from Blanton way out to right, tying the game at 4-4. It brought up Fowler and he chopped a ball back to the mound. Blanton fielded and tagged Fowler out to end the inning.
It was still 4-4 when Blanton started the fifth. Helton led off and hit a 2-0 pitch into center for a single, but Tulowitzki was next and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play. Torreabla flew to Werth in right for the third out.
Just seven pitches in the inning for Blanton, who had thrown 22 in the game.
After hitting for himself in the top of the inning, Blanton started the bottom of the sixth with a 5-4 lead. Atkins led off and lined a 2-2 pitch to Ibanez in left. Spilborghs was next and singled into center. Barmes flew to Victorino just in front of the warning track for the second out. Lefty Seth Smith hit for the pitcher Jose Contreras. Eyre came in and got Smith to foul out to Feliz on a 1-1 pitch to set the Rockies down.
Eyre returned to start the seventh. Gonzalez led off and got the Phillies again, splitting the gap in left-center for a double to start the inning. Fowler was next and he bunted, but as Eyre came off the mound he hurt his ankle and fell to the ground. Gonzalez moved to third and Fowler was safe with a single. Manuel brought in his right-handed closer Madson to pitch to the lefty Helton and Madson struck him out for the first out. Tulowitzki was next and he hit a fly ball to deep left. Gonzalez scored to tie the game at 5-5 with Fowler holding first. Madson struck Torrealba out looking 2-2 to end the inning.
Durbin pitched the eighth with the score still tied at 5-5 and set the Rockies down in order. He got Atkins and Spilborghs on a pair of ground balls to third and then got Barmes to ground to short.
Nice inning for Durbin in a critical spot.
Lidge was on in the ninth to protect a 6-5 lead. Brad Hawpe, who was put in right field in the top of the inning by Colorado, led off and grounded to second. Gonzalez was next and Lidge couldn’t get him out either. Gonzalez drew a walk on eight pitches, putting the tying run on first base. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for Dexter Fowler and Giambi got him to foul to Feliz on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. The lefty Helton drew a five-pitch walk, moving Gonzalez to second and bringing up Tulowitzki with two outs and two on. Eric Young ran for Helton at first. Tulowitzki got ahead 1-0 and then lofted a soft fly ball to Francisco, who had just came in to play left with Lidge at the start of the inning, to end the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Hammel went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).
The Phillies started the game with a five-man bench that included righties Francisco and Cairo and lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako.
Rollins led off the game and flew to center 3-2 for the first out. Victorino was next and he struck out swinging, but Utley followed and he pounded a 1-0 pitch out to right-center to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard crushed the first pitch he saw down the right field foul line but foul before he struck out 2-2 trying to check his swing to set the Phillies down.
Down 2-1, the Phillies went in order in the second. Werth flew to right for the first out. Ibanez hit a line drive hard back up the middle, but off of Hammel’s glove. Hammel recovered the ball and threw him out. Feliz waved at a 2-2 pitch outside and in the dirt for the third out.
Hammel had thrown 30 pitches through two innings.
Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-2 pitch hard to third, but Atkins fielded and threw to first. His throw was in the dirt, but Helton scooped it nicely for the first out. Happ struck out on three pitches for the second out. Rollins went down swinging 2-2 to set the Phillies down. Hammel had struck out five through three innings.
Down 3-1, Victorino led off the top of the fourth with a walk. Utley moved him to second with a single to right. Howard was next and he laced a base hit to right-center, scoring Victorino to make it 3-2 and moving Utley to third. Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez walked to force in Utley and tie the game at 3-3. Feliz was next with the bases still loaded and nobody out. He tapped a 1-1 pitch back to the mound. Hammel gloved and threw home for the first out, Torrealba threw to first to complete the double-play. With men on second and third and two down, Ruiz had a long at-bat before he finally hit a 3-2 pitch and snuck a ground ball into left field for a single. Werth scored and the Phils led 4-3 with men on first and third. Dobbs hit for Happ and the Rockies pulled Hammel from the game. They called on righty Matt Belisle to pitch to Dobbs and Belisle got Dobbs on a ground ball to second to leave both men stranded.
Fantastic inning for the Phils. Great job to get it started by Victorino. Nice at-bat with two outs by Ruiz.
Belisle was back to start the fifth with the score tied at 4-4. Rollins struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Victorino went down on a fly ball to right for the second, but Utley followed with a two-out walk. The Rockies called on lefty Joe Beimel to pitch to Howard and Howard popped Beimel’s first pitch to Tulowitzki in shallow center to end the frame.
Righty Jose Contreras was on to start the sixth for Colorado. He got behind Werth 3-0 but came back to strike him out swinging for the first out. Ibanez and Feliz walked back-to-back after that, putting men on first and second for Ruiz. Ruiz grounded a 3-1 pitch back up the middle and into center for a single. Ibanez scored from second to put the Phils up 5-4. With men on first and second and one out, Blanton hit for himself and struck out trying to bunt. Rollins grounded to second to set the Phillies down.
Second big hit in the game for Ruiz. Blanton stays in the game with Pedro presumably available to pitch.
Lefty Franklin Morales set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Victorino led off and hit a ground ball that Tulowitzki made a nice play on behind second, fielding and throwing to first to nip Victorino for the first out. Utley flew to left and Howard flew to center.
Morales is scary out of the pen for Colorado. I feel much better about the Phillies chances against his fellow lefty Beimel.
Righty Rafael Betancourt pitched the eighth for the Rockies with the score tied at 5-5. He struck Werth out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Ibanez was next and he drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch that was outside. Feliz followed and he dumped a ball down the left field line that fell for a double, moving Ibanez to third. Ruiz struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Stairs hit for Madson and struck out swinging 3-2 to leave both men stranded.
Enormous strikeout for Ruiz, who can’t bring the runner on third home with one out.
Righty Huston Street started the ninth for Colorado with the score at 5-5. Rollins led off for the Phils and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino bunted him to second. Utley was next and he hit a check-swing dribbler out in front of the plate. Street fielded with his momentum taking him into foul territory and threw to first. Utley was called safe on a close play and Rollins went to third — I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say the Phillies got at least one break on the play. Howard was next and delivered a sac fly to deep left-center, with both runners moving up a base and Rollins scoring to put the Phils up 6-5. Werth drew a walk to put two men on before Ibanez went down on a ball hit out in front of the plate to end the frame.
Rollins starts the rally. The Phils play for one and get one.
Rollins came into the series 2-for-9 with two singles. He was 1-for-5 with a huge single last night.
Victorino was 4-for-9 with a double in games one and two and 0-for-3 with a walk last night.
Utley was 2-for-8 in the set. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and a walk last night.
Howard 4-for-8 with two doubles in the series coming into the game and went 1-for-4 with two RBI last night.
Werth 3-for-7 with a triple and a homer in games one and two. 0-for-3 with two walks last night.
Ibanez 4-for-8 with a double and four RBI in the first two and went 0-for-2 with three walks last night. Werth and Ibanez combined to go 0-for-5 with five walks in the game.
Feliz 3-for-7 in the series coming into the game. 1-for-3 with a double and a walk last night.
Ruiz was 1-for-5 with two walks in the series coming into game three. 2-for-4 with two RBI last night, but a big strikeout in the eighth.
Dobbs and Stairs were both 0-for-1 in last night’s game.
Game four of the series is tonight at 6:07. Cliff Lee faces Ubaldo Jimenez in a rematch of game one.
In his blog, Scott Eyre says that he suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle and that he’ll be able to pitch again. He doesn’t say when, but presumably it’s soon. I’d guess it isn’t tonight.
This says that Chan Ho Park could be available if the Phillies make it to the NLCS.
It’s pretty hard to watch the replay of Utley’s dribbler in the ninth without noticing that the ball hits his leg. It should have been called a foul ball.