AP Photo/Matt Slocum
There were plenty of comebacks to remember from this season, but there weren’t any that matched this one. The Phillies seemed out of a ballgame again, but a comeback on this night was even harder to picture than any other night this season. Until the seventh inning, it was a tightly contested NLCS rematch against the Dodgers. The Dodgers got breathing room in the seventh, and with their three-run eighth inning giving them a seven-run lead, the game was in their favor, especially since the Phillies only had six outs left to work with. Needing more runs than the amount of outs they had left was no matter, as the Phils pulled off the most stunning rally seen in recent memory.
With each run of the eighth inning, the thought was not so much for what could be in the making, more a thought of making the loss feel a little lighter, but by the time the eighth ended, the thoughts had shifted. Was there still work left to be done? Sure. In that eighth, Jayson Werth singled home two runs, Ben Francisco doubled home Werth, and Wilson Valdez singled home Francisco. Four runs down, but still four more needed to get the win; three to tie. First things first, the Phillies had to hold the Dodgers off the board in the ninth. Danys Baez had not been a strong pickup for the Phillies, but held the Dodgers at bay in the ninth, giving the Phillies a chance. The ninth inning was a disaster for the Dodgers. With Jonathan Broxton on to close, it was clear he had no command on this night. Placido Polanco was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. That was followed by a pair of walks to Mike Sweeney and Jayson Werth loading the bases. With no outs, Ben Francisco represented the winning run. The only way to describe what happened next is to call it fate. Francisco swung at the second pitch from Broxton, and rolled it straight to Casey Blake, but the ball scooted past right between his legs, and a pair of runs scored. The tying run was on second, the winning run on first, and the Phillies had the most clutch player of 2010 at the plate in Carlos Ruiz. Just as Matt Stairs and Jimmy Rollins both did off Broxton in two straight playoff runs, Ruiz made his mark on Broxton with the key hit, by putting the perfect swing on a hanging slider. Ruiz crushed the pitch into deep left-center. The ball bounded off the top of the wall, and with Ben Francisco right on the heels of Werth as the winning run, there wasn’t even a throw to the plate. The Phillies had pulled off the dramatic comeback, winning the game 10-9.
Baseball witnessed several great rallies in 2010, and after the Phillies had already rallied back from so many deficits in the past four seasons of division-winning success, but there hasn’t been a season yet where the Phillies had two six-run (or more) rallies, in just over a month no less. Think about this for a second as well. There were no outs when the winning run scored, not one. How many runs could the Phillies have pushed across if the game wasn’t over on Ruiz’ double, with Chooch on second, and still three outs to work with. There’s a chance it could have been a repeat of the 10-run first inning from 2009 that Johnny Cueto is known for here in Philadelphia. Regardless, the Phillies stunning comeback, with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino all shelved with injuries, is amazing for just that reason. The Phillies’ offense had slumped for so long. With only two runs through seven innings, and four regulars missing from the lineup, who would’ve thought we’d be celebrating a win that night. That’s why these wins are the greatest, and that’s what makes this comeback victory game number two on Games of the Year: 2010.