Cliff Lee dazzled last night and, for much of the game, the Phillies offense frustrated. Not all of it, though. The Phils found their magic with one out in the top of the ninth, Jimmy Rollins reminded them how it goes, and over the course of five batters they turned one out, nobody on, down two runs and on the way back to Philly for game five into a one-run lead.
It was something to see. It has been for a while now.
Ryan Howard had the biggest hit of the series and the biggest hit of the year for the Phils so far. Dubbed “The Big Piece” by Charlie Manuel, Howard started the ninth inning exhorting his teammates, the best hitting team in the league, “Get me to the plate, boys.” They did. With two outs, two men on and the Phils down by two, the Phillies got him to the plate and he delivered a two-run double to right.
Lee had shut the Rockies out early as solo homers from Victorino and Werth put the Phils on top 2-0. Colorado finally got to Lee in the bottom of the sixth as Troy Tulowitzki delivered an RBI double to cut the lead to 2-1. A defensive misplay by the Phils in the eighth helped the Rockies tie the game at 2-2 before a double by Yorvit Torrealba cleared the bases and put the Rockies on top 4-2. Howard tied the game at 4-4 with his two-run double in the ninth and Werth followed that by singling Howard home. Eyre and Lidge set the Rockies down in the ninth.
The Phillies beat the Colorado Rockies last night, winning 5-4 to take the best-of-five NLDS three games to one.
Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies. He went 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. Two of the runs were unearned. Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double by Tulowitzki. He struck out five.
Two starts in the series for Lee. He pitched 16 1/3 innings over four games. No other Phillies pitcher threw more than five. He had a 1.10 ERA and an 0.86 ratio in the series.
He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Gonzalez (RF/L) (2) Fowler (CF/S) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Atkins (3B/R) (6) Torrealba (C/R)(7) Smith (LF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). Gonzalez moves to right field with the lefty Seth Smith starting and playing left. Hawpe, a lefty, and Spilborghs, a righty, are both on the bench for Colorado. Atkins and Torrealba were flipped again, after Torrealba hit fifth in game three.
The Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi, Ian Stewart and Brad Hawpe on the bench to start the game, along with righties Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young.
Lee started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Gonzalez led off with a hit, of course, singling just over Utley’s head. Fowler was next and he singled to right, moving Gonzalez to second. Helton followed and hit a ball back to the mound. Lee bobbled, then threw to second. Very close play at second, but Fowler was called out for the first out of the inning. Tracy came out to argue for the second time in the inning after Howard had been called safe at first in the top of the frame. It put men on first and third for Tulowitzki with one out. Lee’s 2-2 pitch to him was in the dirt and blocked by Ruiz. Helton took off for second and would have been out with a perfect throw, but Ruiz’s was off the mark and Helton was safe. Lee struck Tulo out swinging 3-2 for the second out and then got Atkins to hit a 3-1 ground ball to short for the third out, leaving both runners stranded.
Tulowitzki can’t bring the runner in from third with one out.
Lee struck out Torrealba swinging 2-2 for the first out of the second. Smith was next and Lee struck him out swinging 2-2 as well. Barmes flew softly to center on an 0-2 pitch for the third out..
Lee had thrown 33 pitches through the first two innings.
The pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez grounded to short for the first out of the third. Gonzalez was next and he walked on four pitches. Fowler was next and he grounded a 2-2 pitch to Utley. Utley made a nice play, tagging Gonzalez and then flipping to first to complete the double-play.
Lee had thrown 46 pitches through three innings.
He was still up 1-0 when he started the fourth. Helton led off and grounded to Feliz on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Tulowitzki followed and flew to Utley in short right field on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Atkins grounded to Feliz for the third out.
Fifty-eight pitches for Lee through four innings.
Torrealba led off the fifth and singled to right. Smith got in an 0-2 hole and flew softly to left for the first out. Lee struck Barmes out waving at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Jimenez was swinging first pitch and dropped a single in front of Werth in right, moving Torrealba to second. Big spot for the white-hot Gonzalez, but Lee got him to fly softly to right on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.
Seventy-eight pitches through five innings for Lee.
He was up 2-0 when he started the sixth. Fowler led off and flew to right for the first out, but Helton was next and drew a walk on four pitches. Tulowitzki smashed a 1-1 pitch into the gap in left-center for a double. Helton scored all the way from first, sliding in just ahead of the throw from Rollins to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1. Atkins hit the first pitch of his at-bat hard, but right at Feliz who caught the ball and threw to second to double-off Tulowitzki and end the inning.
Ninety pitches for Lee.
Torrealba led off the seventh and struck out looking 2-2 for the first out. Smith lofted a fly ball to left on the first pitch of his at-bat. Ibanez came in and slid trying to catch the ball, but it went off of his glove. Smith was safe at second on the two-base error. Barmes flew to left-center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out and righty Ryan Spilborghs hit for the pitcher Jimenez with two outs and a man on second. Lee got Spilborghs to pop to Howard on a 1-2 pitch for the third out.
The error by Ibanez helps the Rockies turn the lineup over.
105 pitches for Lee.
The Phillies left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth and Lee’s first pitch of the bottom of the inning was way up and in to Gonzalez. Gonzalez flew to Ibanez on the warning track for the first out. Fowler was next and Lee walked him on four pitches. Helton followed and hit a ground ball to second. Utley, the ball and Fowler all converged at the same time and Fowler hurdled over and a little behind Utley. Utley flipped to Rollins, but Rollins did not catch the ball and Fowler was safe on the error charged to Rollins. With one out and men on first and second, Madson came in to pitch to the righty Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki lined a 1-1 pitch to left and Francisco, who entered with Madson and took over in left for Ibanez, made a fantastic diving catch for the second out. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for Atkins and lined the first pitch he saw into left for a single that scored Fowler and tied the game at 2-2. Torrealba followed and drove a 1-0 pitch into right-center that landed on the warning track and out of the reach of Victorino for a bases clearing double. 4-2. Madson walked lefty Seth Smith intentionally before getting Barmes on a ground ball to third to end the inning.
Five batters in the inning for Madson. He got a fantastic diving catch to get the first, then gave up RBI-single, two-run double, intentional walk before getting a ground out to end the inning.
Eyre started the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead after an unbelievable rally in the top of the inning put the Phils on top. Cairo was playing left field for the Phils after Dobbs hit for Francisco in the top of the inning. Switch-hitter Eric Young hit for Stewart and grounded to first on a close play for the first out of the inning. Gonzalez was next and singled into left on a 1-1 pitch. Fowler lined softly to Rollins on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Helton was next and he hit the first pitch he saw from Eyre into center for a single, moving Gonzalez to second. Lidge came on to pitch to the righty Tulowitzki. Lidge struck him out 2-2 to end the game and the series.
Carlos Gonzalez was an amazing 10-for-17 in the series for the Rockies, posting a 588/632/882 line. Torrealba was the other guy on the Rockies hitting well. He went 5-for-14 with two doubles and a home run (357/357/714). Pitcher Aaron Cook also went 1-for-2 for Colorado.
Other than Gonzalez, Torrealba and Cook, every other hitter on the Colorado team posted an OPS for the series of under .700.
Barmes 0-for-14. Helton 3-for-16 with three walks. The lefty Gonzalez hammered the lefty starting pitchers for the Phils. The lefty Helton did not.
The Phillies lineup against righty Ubaldo Jimenez 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 on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Victorino was next and he worked the count full, too, but he lined his 3-2 pitch out to right to put the Phillies up 1-0. Utley was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Howard followed and hit a ground ball to second. Utley was forced at second for the second out, but Howard just barely beat the relay and was called safe at first. Tracy came out to argue the call. Werth got ahead 3-1 and flew to right for the third out.
Jimenez struck out Ibanez and Feliz to start the second. Ruiz was next and he hit a ball in between first and second. Barmes slid to his left but didn’t field it cleanly and Ruiz was safe with an infield single. Lee grounded softly to second for the third out.
The single by Ruiz turns the lineup over for the Phils.
Jimenez had thrown 43 pitches through the first two innings.
Rollins swung at the first pitch of the third and grounded to first for the first out of the inning. Victorino followed and singled to right on a 1-1 pitch. Utley was next and he singled to right-center. Victorino tried to take third and Gonzalez made a strong throw that beat Victorino to the bag, but with the help of a slow tag from Atkins and perhaps a generous call from the third base ump, Victorino was safe. Tracy came out to argue yet again, the third time in less than 2 1/2 innings. Howard was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out. Werth was next and had about the worst at-bat you’ve ever seen from him. He struck out swinging at a terrible 1-2 pitch in the dirt for the second out. Ibanez was next and tried to check his swing 3-2 on a ball that was low, but the home plate ump said he went around to set the Phillies down.
Nothing for the Phils after loading the bases with one out. Werth’s at-bat was atrocious. Not just the result, which was no run with a man on third and one out, but I think that literally may be the worst at-bat I’ve ever seen from him based on the way his swings looked and the pitches he swung at. Nice play by Utley to take second after the throw from Gonzalez went to third, but Victorino would have been out by a lot with a better tag. The ball beat him by a lot. Not a fan of Rollins swinging at the first pitch.
Sixty-five pitches for Jimenez.
Feliz swung at the first pitch to start the fourth, too. He grounded to short for the first out. Ruiz got ahead 2-1 then popped to third. Lee struck out on three pitches.
Just eight pitches in the inning for Jimenez, who had thrown 73 in the game.
Rollins struck out swinging 2-2 to start the fifth. Victorino popped to short on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Utley popped to short, too, ending the inning.
Fourteen pitches in the inning. 87.
Howard led off the sixth and grounded to Tulowitzki on the right side of second base for the first out. Werth was next and hit a high 2-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phillies up 2-0. Ibanez flew to left for the second out. Feliz swung at the first pitch again and grounded to second.
Just bizarreness from Werth coming off what literally may be his worst at-bat ever in the top of the third.
Jimenez was up to 103 pitches.
He came back to start the seventh anyway and got Ruiz on a line drive to second to start the inning. Lee struck out looking for the second out. Rollins ripped a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for a double. On Jimenez’s 126th pitch of the game, Victorino hit a 2-2 slider back to the mound. Jimenez fielded and threw to first for the third out, leaving Rollins stranded.
Lefty Franklin Morales came on to start the eighth for the Rockies. He walked Utley on a 3-2 pitch that was low and away. Utley stole second as the count went 2-2 on Howard, but Howard struck out looking for the first out. The lefty Morales walked Werth intentionally. Ibanez was next and he walked on a 3-1 pitch that was outside to load the bases. Feliz came to the plate and swung at the first pitch, really he did, popping to Tulowitzki in foul territory for the second out. Ruiz hit a 1-1 pitch slowly back up the middle, but Tulowitzki fielded and threw Ruiz out to end the frame.
Feliz. Just horrid. Again the Phillies don’t score with the bases loaded and one out.
Righty Huston Street started the ninth with a 4-2 lead. Dobbs hit for Francisco, double-switched into the game in the top of the ninth, to start the inning and struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. It brought up Rollins and he hit a ball back through the middle. Barmes got to it, but by the time he recovered he had no chance to get Rollins. Victorino followed and hit a ground ball to second. The ball wasn’t hit hard and Colorado could get just one, forcing Rollins at second for the second out. Utley walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard got ahead in the count 2-1 and drove a ball to the warning track in right field for a double that scored both runners and tied the game at 4-4. Werth reached out and poked a 2-2 pitch into right field for a single. Howard scored and the Phillies led 5-4. That was it for Street. Lefty Joe Beimel replaced him and Manuel called on Miguel Cairo to hit for Madson. Cairo grounded to second to set the Phillies down.
Just amazing. All of it. Rollins does it again, getting on base when the Phillies need it most.
The Phillies scored 20 runs in the four-game series. They allowed 15.
Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double in the game. Another huge hit in the ninth inning. Twice he sparked critical ninth-inning rallies in the series. They only played four games. He was 5-for-19 in the series.
Victorino was 2-for-5 with a home run. 6-for-17 with a double and a homer in the series.
Utley was 1-for-2 with three walks, one of which was critical in the ninth inning. 6-for-14 with a home run in the series. 429/556/643 in the series.
Howard was 1-for-4 with a two-run double. He was 6-for-16 with three doubles in the series and led the team with six RBI.
Werth had the game-winning hit in the ninth inning last night and was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in the game. 5-for-14 with a triple and a home run in the series. He also drew four walks. 357/500/929 over the four games.
Ibanez was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts last night. 4-for-13 with a double and five RBI in the series. He also drew four walks
Feliz was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 3-for-14 with a double and a walk in the series.
Ruiz 1-for-4. 4-for-13 with three RBI.
Every regular except for Rollins (.263 with key hits in the last two games) and Feliz (.214) hit over .300 for the series.
Utley, Werth, Ibanez and Ruiz all on-based .400 or better.
Werth, Utley, Victorino and Howard all slugged over .550.
Dobbs was 0-for-1 last night. 0-for-3 in the series.
Cairo was 0-for-1 last night and 0-for-3 in the series.
Stairs and Francisco both did not get an at-bat last night but were 0-for-1 in the series. Stairs also had a walk. Francisco made an outstanding catch in game four.
Game one of the NLCS is on Thursday in Los Angeles.