Before today’s game against the Dodgers, Shane Victorino was activated off the DL and lefty Antonio Bastardo was sent to AAA to make room. Victorino did not start the game as Charlie Manuel had already told Ben Francisco he would start tonight. Victorino did pinch hit in the 8th and drew a walk. Francisco had a much more interesting game…more on that shortly.
Pitcher Joe Blanton started the game and sadly, had another Blah-anton-type outing. He allowed 3 runs right off the bat in the first inning. After 5 2/3 innings, Blanton had walked 4 batters, allowed 8 hits and 4 runs total. The hole was dug deeper by relief pitcher Chad Durbin who did not provide any relief. Durbin allowed a 2-run homer in the 7th to put the Phillies down 6-2.
But the damage did not end there. JC Romero pitched the 8th inning and while Romero has had trouble of late, this time it was the defense that let him down. Mike Sweeney missed a ground ball at first to start the inning. Carlos Ruiz had an error as well and two unearned runs scored. Jose Contreras came in to relieve Romero and gave up another run.
Down 9-2 going into the bottom of the 8th, it looked like this game was over. Then suddenly, the hits started coming. It began with 4 straight hits: singles from Placido Polanco, Sweeney, Jayson Werth and a double from Francisco. Wilson Valdez got another hit for the 4th run of the inning. The 9-6 score seemed a tad more manageable.
The Dodgers sent their closer in for the 9th, Jonathan Broxton. The same 4 players that ignited the 8th inning rally started another one in the 9th. Polanco was hit by a pitch; Sweeney and Werth both walked. Francisco got on base after an error and 2 runs scored. Just like that, the bases were loaded with no outs for Carlos Ruiz with a 9-8 score. Ruiz smashed a walk-off double to win the game!
The Phillies came back from a 7 run deficit to win the game and take 2 of 3 games in the series. When asked how he felt after the game, Ruiz told Gary Matthews, “I’m happy, I’m so happy.” Well Chooch, we are SO happy too! Werth then ran up behind him and dumped a bucket of Gatorade over Ruiz’s head. I supposed shaving cream pies are out of fashion now.
Next up: the Mets in New York for the weekend. Game time tomorrow is 7:10pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography