AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr.
The offense we are seeing from the Phillies in this era is incredible. In 2008, they touched up two teams, the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals, for 20 runs in a single game. And we thought they were as good as it got for the powerful Phillies’ offense. Then, there was the game on July 6. It was now 2009, but the same core group of Phillies was there, and they were ready to make franchise history, with quite possibly the greatest single offensive performance in Phillies history.
The Phillies were starting a four game series with the Cincinnati Reds, and facing their ace Johnny Cueto. They were coming off a series sweep of the Mets, and entered with a three-game winning streak. Nobody expected such an offensive explosion to take place. It all started with Jimmy Rollins, who walked to start the inning. Shane Victorino, in the middle of the final vote race in the All-Star Game, homered for his cause to give the Phillies the early lead. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were retired, and there were two outs after the quick outburst. It still looked like a good lead for the Phillies to take from the first inning, but the Phillies weren’t done yet. Jayson Werth singled, and Greg Dobbs followed with a two-run blast. After back-to-back doubles from Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels doubled home them both. Rollins followed with an RBI double of his own. The Phillies had batted around and scored six runs, but they were still not done. Victorino walked, and that was the game for Cueto. Utley stepped in against new pitcher, Danny Herrera, and blasted a three-run shot to right center, and the Phillies had put a ten spot on the board. This was by far the most incredible inning of the season. But, the scoring just continued for the Phillies. Ruiz lined an RBI single in the second. Werth added a sac fly in the third. Victorino, Utley, and Howard all drove home runs in the fourth. By this point, it was 16-1. The Reds lone run came on a solo shot from Jonny Gomes. Cole Hamels didn’t have time to panic on the mound, as he coasted through seven strong innings. Cole had worked a gem of his own that night, allowing only three hits, and the one run. It seemed imminent that the Phillies would hit the 20-run mark once again, but they were held off the board for the next three innings. Into the eighth they went, still sitting on 16 runs. At this point, it wasn’t about who was going to win, it was about how many runs the Phillies could score. The Phillies applied the pressure early, as two baserunners reached. Pitching for the Reds at this point was Paul Janish, a utility infielder. By this point, the Phillies lineup had been drastically changed. With a big lead, Charlie Manuel rested Utley and Howard, replacing Utley with Eric Bruntlett and Howard with John Mayberry Jr. Victorino singled home Matt Stairs, who was a pinch hitter in the inning. Bruntlett followed with an RBI double. They were at 18, with number 20 standing on second base. Mayberry worked a walk and up stepped Werth. Werth got them to 20 and beyond, launching a grand slam to right field. The Phillies had scored 22 runs in a single ballgame. Scott Eyre managed a scoreless ninth, and the Phillies had won 22-1, the greatest margin win for the Phillies in franchise history.
This game ranks easily, because 22 runs is something you just can’t forget. It’s hard to imagine which achievement is more incredible, scoring 22 runs in a single game, or 10 in a single inning. The pure dominance of the Phillies that night made us excited to watch this offense, because you never knew what type of numbers they could put up in a single game. This was the greatest offensive performance of the season, and it ranks fifth on our list of Games of the Year: 2009.