In late July, the Phillies found themselves significantly under the .500 mark. Fans were starting to become uninterested as the team performed well under their expectations. In general, it wasn’t a pleasant time for Phillies fans, as the Phillies eventually decided to become sellers at the trade deadline.
But there was a series that brought hope: July 24-26 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Phillies were able to sweep the Brew Crew, but it was more than a sweep. Every game was full of excitement, leading fans to wonder if the Phillies would be a second-half team once again.
The drama began in the ninth inning on July 23. The Phillies were down 6-3 with Francisco Rodriguez on the mound. Ryan Howard started the rally with a two-run single. Carlos Ruiz tied the game with a single of his own, and Ty Wigginton’s sacrifice fly brought home the winning run. Just when all thought the Phillies were dead, they came alive with a four-run ninth inning. The late-inning madness would not stop there.
In the second game of the series, the Phillies trailed 6-1 entering the bottom of the eighth. A six run inning was captivated by an Erik Kratz home run, Carlos Ruiz double, and Hunter Pence go-ahead bloop single. At the time, Erik Kratz was on fire, and had several huge hits during the series.
The final game of the series was arguably the best of them all. The Phillies had an early lead, but lost it in the later innings, highlighting the year’s bullpen issues. Tied at five, the game headed into extra innings. The Brewers quickly regained the lead in the tenth, but the Phillies didn’t give up. Ruiz’s sacrifice fly evened the score. Last but not least, Jimmy Rollins singled for the walk-off victory, completing the sweep.
The Phillies won every game in the series by a score of 7-6. It was the fourth straight game in which the Phillies won in their final at-bat. Before this series, the Phillies hadn’t had too many walk-off wins. This series certainly changed that. The Comeback Kids were back in town.
The July Brewers series did not lack late-inning excitement. In my opinion, walk-off wins stick out more than most other victories, possibly because of the intensity and drama. This series brought back memories of some thrilling walk-off wins in recent history. It also brought back faith in Phillies baseball.