The Phillies were left for dead as the ninth inning approached at Shea Stadium Tuesday night. But something funny went down â€” the Phils won.
Down 5-2 in the ninth, the Phils rattled off five hits, including two crucial two-run doubles, en route to a stunning six-run inning and eventual 8-6 win over the Mets.
For one, thank the Mets bullpen yet again. The Phils can just hit them, no other way of putting it. They got to Duaner Sanchez, then Joe Smith, then Pedro Feliciano. And they did it with singles and doubles, clutch knocks, situational knocks.
It started with a Jayson Werth single. Then a Greg Dobbs single. Then a Shane Victorino single. Pulses grew. Bases loaded. Carlos Ruiz almost hit into a trademark deflating double play, but Jose Reyes boneheadedly didn’t make the out and Victorino beat him to second.
Then came the move of the game. With Feliciano coming in, the announced Geoff Jenkins was pulled by interim manager Jimy Williams (Charlie Manuel had been ejected) for So Taguchi. And So, without a pinch hit this year, delivered â€” what else â€” a two-run pinch hit double. And to seize the lead, Jimmy Rollins came out of his hole with a huge double of his own. An insurance lucky run allowed Brad Lidge to grab the somewhat simple save.
The amazing ninth saved Joe Blanton, who â€” while we can’t bash him too much on that outing â€” pitched a mediocre six frames. He gave up five runs on eight hits while walking three. Definitely not the Blanton we were told was coming, but he gets a mulligan (partly because Carlos Delgado swung at that alleged ball).
The amazing ninth won it for Chad Durbin, who along with JC Romero and Rudy Seanez, prevented any further damage. Seanez was bailed out by a throw-out of Endy Chavez at the plate by Werth, and a phenomenal diving grab by Chase Utley.
Chavez was also thrown out in the third by a pristine relay of Pat Burrell and Rollins.
The amazing ninth put another no decision in Johan Santana’s pocket. He was on point after the first inning, settng down the Phils with ease. After this one, Jerry Manuel has to start thinking about making Santana a nine-inning pitcher.
The amazing ninth also induced some hope in all of us. For one inning the hitting was crisp and clean, and nothing ever flew out of the park. For one inning the Phils were doing everything they needed to score runs. For one inning the machine seemed intact. And at the very best time. The win puts the Phils back ahead of the pack in the NL East, one game up on the Mets and Marlins.
Associated Press photo