You could hear the collective sigh of frustration go up when Dexter Fowler singled to give the Rockies a ninth-inning lead. After all, this was a Phillies team that hadn’t pulled off a ninth-inning rally all season.
This homestand has to be a difference maker if the Phillies want to make a comeback in the standings. A comeback will come in the standings if the Phillies can comeback in games. Tonight, they could finally take claim to a walk-off comeback win. It didn’t come easy or in traditional fashion, but it was still a morale-boosting win for the Phillies.
The Phillies opened the scoring in the first. After a one-out triple by Juan Pierre, an RBI groundout by Hunter Pence drove him home.
Joe Blanton continued to struggle with the longball. After getting the first two outs of the second, two singles extended the inning for Wilin Rosario. He belted a three-run home run to center.
But in what Charlie Manuel likes to call “hittin’ weather,” the Phillies packed a punch of their own. Michael Martinez had a chance to get the Phillies right back in it. He gave them the lead back with a three-run home run, his first of the season, to right-center.
Blanton wouldn’t escape the longball still, allowed a third-inning solo home run to Michael Cuddyer and a fourth-inning solo shot to Chris Nelson.
An RBI double by Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the fourth tied the game back up at five.
Blanton worked seven solid innings, allowing five runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked no batters in the no-decision.
Antonio Bastardo threw 31 pitches in an adventurous but scoreless eighth, giving way to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.
Papelbon had not pitched well in non-save situations all season, but was just one out away from getting out of the inning when a double and an intentional walk allowed the Rockies to have a scoring chance. Dexter Fowler was dealing with a full count and lined a pitch into right field with the runners going to give the Rockies the lead.
The Phillies had to overcome a deficit that they hadn’t overcome all season. They had never found themselves on the positive end of a ninth inning where they trailed.
The comeback trail started slow with a two-out single by Ty Wigginton. With Wigginton running, Pence lined a double to left to tie the game. After an intentional walk to Carlos Ruiz and a hustle infiel single by Shane Victorino loaded the bases, the game rested in Placido Polanco’s hands.
Polanco chopped a ball up the middle that was flagged down by shortstop Marco Scutaro. Scutaro’s throw was slightly wide but Todd Helton was off the bag and couldn’t recover in time as Polanco reached and the game-winning run scored on Helton’s missed catch error giving the Phillies a 7-6 win over the Rockies.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a comeback. Additionally, everything was on the other side. The errors were made by the Rockies with the Phillies getting the payoff. The Phillies got great defense all night.
The pitching was shaky on both ends, but, as the end result indicates, the Phillies would win that battle as well.
The offense was also good, managing to produce a solid number of runs in another game.
It was one of those rare occurrences where everything clicked for the Phillies. It is a win they needed to have, and now that they got it, perhaps things are finally looking up for the team that didn’t have any luck in the earlier months of the season.
Regardless of how the game was won, the Phillies have a chance to sweep tomorrow night. It would be a great start to a crucial homestand.
The Phillies and Rockies play in the series finale tomorrow night. Vance Worley gets the start against Jeff Francis.
L: Rafael Betancourt (1-3)