Everything was looking great for the Phillies last night until the rain came. Cole Hamels appeared to be slowly returning to form; he pitched 5 innings before the delay and allowed one solo home run, 4 hits and struck out 5. The offense too, seemed ready to pounce on the Marlins for a second day in a row. In the 1st inning, Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a double and Chase Utley hit a home run to drive them both in. They scored 2 more runs in the 4th with singles by Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth; then Pedro Feliz doubled and the Phillies went up 4-1.
But Mother Nature thought it would be fun to interrupt the momentum and a downpour stopped the game in the middle of the 6th inning. After a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, the game resumed and the Phillies looked like they had not woken from the nap they took in the clubhouse. Chan Ho Park allowed 1 run over 2 innings of work, which is not too bad. And Park has been very solid out of the pen lately. But then Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and could not make it through a whole inning; he did record 2 outs, but also gave up 2 more runs to tie the game at 4-4.
Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin wound up pitching in the same inning, which seemed like it would never end as ex-Phillies players put a hurting on the pen. Ronny Paulino, who was with the Phils in Spring Training, obviously has a chip on his shoulder when playing the team who let him go. Having gone 0 for his last 13 at-bats, Paulino rallied for 3 hits, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk against the Phils. Even Wes Helms got in the action with a hit and an RBI.
Once it went into extra innings, the potential outcome appeared bleak as the Phillies began to run out of players.
The umpire was no help in this game either; Mark Wegner, a 10 year veteran, did not have a good game behind the plate. His strike zone was all over the place and both teams argued with him all night. Then, with the potential go-ahead run on 3rd base for the Phillies, the Marlins pitcher balked – an obvious balk. But all 4 umpires missed it so the extra innings continued. All I can figure is that the umpires brought their sleeping bags and were content to make this game go all night long.
But the Phillies finally woke up in the 12th inning as singles from J-Roll, Utley and Werth turned into 2 runs and put the Phillies up 6-4. Brad Lidge came in to close it out, and it was another ugly, ugly turn of events. Stomaches churned as Lidge walked 2 batters in a row and then uncorked a wild pitch to score a run. With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run at the plate, Lidge finally got Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game; final score 6-5, Phillies. And all in Phillies-land rejoiced as we staggered sleepily to our beds after the 4 hour ordeal.
And we will do it all over again tonight! Same time, same place; Joe Blanton will take the mound at 7:10pm in Land Shark Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium). We all hope the Phillies can win it in NINE innings tonight. Please and thank you. ;O)
Howard Photo by Jenn