Another day, another miraculous finish for the Phillies. This time the nearly-impossible-to-believe drama came from Jimmy Rollins, who roped a two-out double to right-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to turn a Dodgers’ lead into a walkoff win for the Phillies.
Ryan Howard put the Phils up 2-0 in the first with yet another home run, this one off of LA starter and former Phil Randy Wolf. Blanton was perfect through three innings, but the Dodgers got to him in the fourth when LA scored twice on RBI-singles by James Loney and Russell Martin to tie game at 2-2. A Matt Kemp homer off of Blanton in the fifth put LA up 3-2 and a throwing error by Feliz helped open the door in the sixth as LA tacked on an unearned run to extend the lead to 4-2. Wolf had lulled the Phils offense to sleep since the Howard homer — between the first inning homer from Howard and the start of the sixth inning the Phils managed just one two-out walk by Ruiz in the fifth. Victorino snapped the team out of it with a one-out triple down the left field line. Utley followed with a single to right that cut the lead to 4-3. Wolf left after 5 1/3 and the mighty LA pen shut the Phils down after that, for a while at least. Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth to protect the one-run lead. Stairs drew a pinch-hit walk with one out and Ruiz followed and was hit by a pitch. With two outs and men on first and second, Dobbs popped a ball to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and Rollins delivered, splitting the gap in right-center to clear the bases and give the Phils a 5-4 win.
It was hard not to think of what had happened in game four of the NLCS between the same two teams the year before. In that game the Phillies got to Broxton, too, as a two-run homer by Stairs in the eighth broke a 5-5 tie.
The Phillies lead the best-of-seven NLCS with the Dodgers three games to one after winning game four last night 5-4.
The Dodgers lineup against Blanton went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Kemp (CF/R) (3) Ethier (RF/L) (4) Ramirez (LF/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Belliard (2B/R) (7) Martin (C/R (8) Blake (3B/R). That’s similar to the lineup that Pedro faced in game two until you get to 6-7-8. In game two it went Blake-Belliard-Martin, but Blake was dropped to eighth for this game. It sure doesn’t seem like Loney, who hit 13 home runs, should be your five-hitter protecting Manny against righties if you want to go to the World Series. He slugged .396 against righties. Loney is having a good series for LA, though.
The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.
Furcal led off the game and flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Kemp grounded to third 2-2 for the second. Ethier hit a ground ball to first 1-2 and Howard took it to the bag for the third.
Eleven pitches in the inning for Blanton, eight of which were strikes.
He set LA down in order again in the second, pitching with a 2-0 lead. Manny grounded to short on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Loney struck out looking 0-2 for the second. Belliard flew to left on a 1-2 pitch to set LA down.
Ten pitches in the inning for Blanton. 21 for the game.
Martin started the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center, but Werth took it on a run for the first out. Blake grounded to short 2-1 for the second out. Wolf got behind 1-2 and hit the ball hard, but Howard took it at first and beat Wolf to the bag to end the frame.
Blanton was perfect through three. Eleven pitches in the inning, 32 for the game. Twenty-three strikes.
Furcal started the fourth and grounded to Howard on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Blanton got ahead of Kemp 1-2 but lost him, walking him on a pitch outside to give LA their first runner of the game. Ethier was next and he crushed a 2-2 pitch to center, but Victorino tracked it down just in front of the wall for the second out. Ramirez was next and he ripped a 1-2 pitch down the third base line. Kemp would have scored easily if it had gotten to the corner, but it didn’t. It bounced off of the stands in left field and Kemp held third with Ramirez safe at first with a long single. Loney was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2 before Loney laced a single to right. Kemp scored to cut the lead to 2-1 with Ramirez taking second. It brought up Belliard with two outs and two men on. Blanton walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was low and outside to load the bases. Martin lined a single to left and everyone moved up a base. Ramirez scored and it was 2-2. Blanton got Blake to ground to second on a 3-2 pitch to leave the runners stranded. Utley made a strong and accurate throw, but there were some nervous Phillies fans as he did.
Long inning for Blanton. Thirty-seven pitches. Nineteen strikes and 18 balls. He had thrown 69 pitches in the game.
Wolf flew to left for the first out of the fifth. Furcal followed and he grounded to Utley. Kemp hit a 2-0 pitch just out to center, putting LA up 3-2. Ethier hit a 1-2 pitch hard, too, but Utley snared the line drive that looked ticketed for center field for the third out.
Blanton was up to 84 pitches after throwing 15 in the inning. Kemp, who got things going with a walk in the fourth, is the guy who got him again.
Ramirez led off the sixth with a ground ball to deep third. Feliz fielded and threw in the dirt to Howard. Howard tried to scoop the ball but didn’t come up with it and Ramirez was safe on the error by Feliz. Loney flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Belliard was next and he blooped a ball into shallow left-center field. Rollins went back and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch but couldn’t come up with it. Belliard had a single and Ramirez went to second. Martin struck out looking 1-2 for the second out, but Blake followed and he singled into right. Ramirez scored to make it 4-2 with Belliard going to third. Blake stole second with Wolf at the plate, but Wolf flew to center 2-2 to leave both men stranded.
Twenty-one and 105 for Blanton. Third straight inning that Blanton had been charged with runs. Two plays that could have been made hurt him in the inning, but the catch by Rollins would have been a fantastic play. The Phils let Blanton hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth.
Park started the seventh with the Phils down 4-3. Furcal hit a ball back to the mound for the first out. Kemp struck out swinging 2-2 for the second. Ethier walked on a 3-2 pitch that was in the strike zone, putting a man on for Ramirez. Park got ahead of Manny 1-2 and Ruiz gunned Ethier down to end the frame as the count went 2-2 on Manny.
Great throw by Ruiz, but it meant that Manny would lead off the eighth.
That wasn’t a problem for Madson, who pitched the eighth for the Phils still down a run at 4-3. Madson struck Ramirez out on three pitches to start the inning. Loney was next and Madson got ahead of him. He struck him out 1-2 and didn’t get the call, struck him out 2-2 and didn’t get the call before Loney reached on an infield single back up the middle. Belliard got behind 0-2 and hit a ground ball to short with Loney forced at second for the second out. No chance for a double play as Rollins had to come in on the ball. Belliard stole second as the count went 3-0 on Martin. He was actually out, too, as his leg was caught on Utley’s foot and Utley put the tag on in time despite an offline throw from Ruiz, but LA got the call. Martin walked to put two men on, but Madson struck Blake out swinging 1-2 to leave them both stranded.
Eyre started the ninth, facing switch-hitter Orlando Hudson who had been double-switched into the game in the bottom of the eighth. Hudson lofted a high fly ball to right that Werth took at the foul line for the first out. Furcal was next and he singled into center. Lidge came in to pitch to Kemp and Furcal stole second as Kemp struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Lidge’s 1-2 pitch to Ethier was in the dirt and blocked by Ruiz, allowing Furcal to take third. Ethier struck out looking 2-2 to leave Furcal stranded.
Fantastic day for the pen in relief of Blanton. They went three shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks.
Loney and Martin are the only regulars for LA who have an OPS of .800 or better for the series so far. Loney is 5-for-14 with a homer and a walk. Martin is 4-for-12 with a double and a walk. Blake and Furcal are a combined 4-for-31 with four singles. Manny is 4-for-16 without a walk in the series. Ethier is the only player on LA with more than one walk — he has two. LA has outhit the Phils in the series, getting 30 hits so far to 28 for the Phils. The Phillies have six home runs to the Dodgers’ three, though, and 19 walks to nine for LA.
Kemp’s home run is the only extra-base hit the Dodgers have against Phillies pitching in the last three games.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Wolf 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 six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.
Rollins swung at Wolf’s first pitch in the first and singled to left. He was running on the 1-1 pitch to Victorino, but Victorino popped it up to second. Ethier took it right behind second base for the first out and Rollins had to hurry back to the bag. Utley swung at the first pitch and popped to first for the second out. Howard was next. Wolf didn’t get the call on a 2-1 pitch that had a lot of the plate and Howard hit the 3-1 offering out to right for a two-run homer that put the Phils up 2-0. Werth flew to right on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Wolf threw 18 pitches in the first.
He set the Phils down in order in the second. Ibanez flew to left 2-2 for the first out. Feliz popped to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Furcal made a very nice play for the third. Ruiz broke his bat hitting a ball that Furcal bare-handed behind second base on a big hop. Furcal made a strong throw to get Ruiz at first and set the Phillies down.
Seventeen pitches in the game had Wolf at 35.
Blanton led off the third and lined a 1-1 pitch to right for the first out. Rollins got ahead 3-0 on three pitches that all could have been called strikes before he flew softly to right on a 3-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and popped out to Blake in foul territory on a 3-1 pitch.
13 and 48 for Wolf through three.
Utley led off the fourth with the score tied at 2-2 and flew to right on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Howard struck out looking 1-2. Werth struck out swinging 0-2.
After throwing 12 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 60 for the game.
Ibanez flew to center for the first out of the fifth with the Phils down 3-2. Feliz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and fouled out to Loney. Ruiz was next and he drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch that probably was a strike. Despite two weak innings in a row, with Happ warming in the pen, Blanton hit for himself and grounded softly to short with Furcal fielding and tagging second to force Ruiz and end the inning.
After throwing 13 pitches in the inning, Wolf had thrown 73 for the game. Ruiz’s walk broke a string of twelve in a row set down by Wolf.
The Phils trailed 4-2 when they hit in the sixth. Rollins grounded to third for the first out. Victorino was next and he tripled down the left field line. Manny missed the cutoff man, but I don’t think they would have had Victorino at third anyway. Utley followed with a single into right, scoring Victorino to cut the LA lead to 4-3. Howard drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch to put men on first and second. That was it for Wolf and righty Ronald Belisario came in to pitch to Werth after throwing 28 pitches the night before in game three. Werth shattered his bat grounding an 0-1 pitch to third. Blake threw to second for one but Belliard dropped the ball and the Dodgers were unable to turn the double-play. With two outs and men on first and third, lefty Hong-Chih Kuo came in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez swung at the first pitch and lined a ball to left, but Ramirez took it at his shoestrings to leave the runners stranded.
Kuo was back to pitch the seventh and set the Phillies down in order. Feliz struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Ruiz hit a ground ball to short for the second out. Francisco hit for Park and got ahead 3-1 but flew to left field for the third out.
Lefty George Sherrill started the eighth for LA with a 4-3 lead. Rollins worked the count full but grounded out on a nice play by Blake at third for the first out. Victorino was hit in the back foot by a 2-2 pitch. Utley got ahead and swung at a terrible 3-1 pitch that was outside and in the dirt. He missed, but Victorino took second on the pitch. Utley walked and it put two men on for Howard. Howard struck out swinging 1-2. Righty Jonathan Broxton came in to pitch to Werth and Werth flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.
Broxton was back for the ninth with a 4-3 lead. Ibanez got ahead 1-0 and grounded out to second for the first out. Stairs hit for Feliz, setting up a rematch of last season’s confrontation with Broxton, and walked on four pitches. Bruntlett ran for Stairs at first. Ruiz was next and Broxton’s first pitch to him drilled him, putting men on first and second for the pitcher’s spot and Dobbs hit for Lidge. Dobbs fisted an 0-1 pitch softly to third for the second out. It brought up Rollins and he lined a 1-1 pitch into right-center. The ball rolled all the way to the way as Ethier chased. Bruntlett and Ruiz roared around the bases and each of them scored without a throw. 5-4.
Wow. Great inning for Manuel among other things. Stairs for Feliz and letting Ruiz hit was a great move. Again Stairs gets it done against Broxton, starting the rally with a walk. He’s been on the team all year long for a very tiny number of big at-bats. That was one of them and it worked out pretty well.
Rollins was 2-for-5 with a game-winning double and two RBI. He’s 4-for-19 with two doubles in the series.
Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the series. He’s 5-for-15 with a triple and a home run in the series. Big hit for him in the sixth to break Wolf’s spell over the Phils.
Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 4-for-15 with four singles and three walks in the series. Good throws from him all night long.
Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer. 5-for-13 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the set. Eight RBI for the Phils in the series. Nobody else on the team has more than four.
Ibanez was 0-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-14 with a home run in the series.
Werth 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-14 with a home run and two walks in the series. The Phils have scored 16 runs in the last two games and Ibanez and Werth have combined to go 1-for-14, although the one was a big homer from Werth off of Kuroda in the first inning of game three.
Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and is 1-for-13 in the series. Werth, Ibanez and Feliz are a combined 4-for-41 in the series.
Ruiz 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch in the game. 5-for-10 with a double, a home run, four walks and a .667 on-base percentage in the series.
Stairs had a huge at-bat in the ninth, drawing a walk off of Broxton.
Francisco got a pinch-hit at-bat in the game and flew to left against Kuo. He’s 0-for-3 in the series.
Dobbs 0-for-1 in the game and the series.
No game today. Game five is tomorrow.
Here is a post from the end of last year that has the Phillies post-season pitching stats for 2008.
And here’s a post with the post-season hitting stats from 2008.