OK, now that’s more like it. This is the team we know and love. With that all-too-rare combination lately of pitching, hitting and defense, the Phillies put it all together to salvage a win in Pittsburgh and end their 4-game losing streak. How did they do it? Well, this game had a little bit of everything so here are:
My Top 10 Moments from this Crazy Victory.
10. After what looked like an inning-ending third strike for Halladay was called a ball, Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker blasted the next pitch over the fence for a 2-run shot giving the Pirates the early lead. And leaving Phillies fans wondering if their team really was snake-bit.
9. Raul Ibanez finally got career RBI No. 1000 driving in Chase Utley in the fourth with a sacrifice fly for the Phillies first run. It’s a great accomplishment for the veteran left fielder and even in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, chants of “Rauuuuul” filled the stadium.
8. Also in the fourth, Dominic Brown was involved in one of the game’s more unusual plays when his line shot single to center hit the second base umpire. It was ruled a dead ball preventing the tying run from scoring. The next batter hit into an inning ending double play. Another one of those snake-bit moments. Brown, by the way, had two hits in the game and batted an impressive .393 on the road trip.
7. The Phillies scored two runs in the fifth, including the go-ahead run at the time, without getting a single hit!
6. The Phils made up for that however with 14 hits on the day. It was their most balanced hitting attack in a while with Howard, Victorino, Polanco, and Brown all getting two hits apiece. (Chase Utley did them one better. More on that in No. #3.)
5. Although Jose Contreras struggled in the 8th giving up one run, the bullpen continued to do its job with Antonio Bastardo coming in to get Contreras out of the jam getting the final two outs including a big inning ending strikeout. Ryan Madson took care of the 9th continuing his dominance with two more strikeouts.
4. The Phillies fans deserve mention as they continue to travel en masse to root for their team. From New York to Washington to Pittsburgh it was often tough to tell who the home team really was.
3. Chase Utley had his best game since his return with 3 hits, a walk and a run scored. Perhaps more importantly with runners on first and third in the 7th, he made a terrific diving catch on a line drive off the bat of pinch hitter Jose Tabata saving at least one run.
2. Ryan Howard broke out of his slump to drive in 3 runs on 2 hits bringing his RBI total to 46 for the year.
1. And number one goes to the stopper, Roy Halladay, who pitched seven strong innings to notch his 8th win. He also had a hit and a run scored in the game. When the Phillies need a lift, the ‘Doc’ always seems to get the job done.
All in all, a nice and needed win. And believe it or not, even after a 4-5 road trip the Phillies return to the familiar confines of Citizens Bank Park in better shape in their Division than when they left with a 3 game lead on the Florida Marlins and 3 1/2 on the Atlanta Braves. Let’s hope Dorothy had it right and the Phils will find that,
“There’s no place like home!”