Phillies beat Rockies, advance to NLCSby Eric Schwartz
It was everything that October baseball is supposed to be.
The Philadelphia Phillies showed once again why they are “Must See TV” pulling out a dramatic victory that sent them back to the NLCS and put them one step closer to repeating as World Champions.
After giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and facing the prospect of coming home for a Game 5, the Phillies staged one of the greatest ninth innings in team history, coming back to defeat the Colorado Rockies, 5-4 at a chilly Coors Field. With two outs and two on Ryan Howard sent a Houston Street offering to the right field wall, scoring Shane Victorino and Chase Utley with the tying runs. Jayson Werth followed with a bloop single to right center, which plated Howard and gave the Phillies a lead that seemed so improbable just minutes earlier.
All that was left was the save, and as is always the case, it wasn’t easy. Scott Eyre record two outs, but allowed two base runners, prompting Charlie Manuel to go to Brad Lidge for the 27th out.
Lidge got the dangerous Troy Tulowitzki swinging and yet another celebration was on.
Monday’s contest was a game that showed everything that is great about baseball and great about the Phillies. Even after Ryan Madson wasted a great performance by starter Cliff Lee by allowing three runs to score in the eighth, the Phils refused to go down.
Ryan Howard told his teammates to get him a chance to hit in the ninth because he would deliver. Then he came out and did it.
Lee again showed that h is capable of delivering in the postseason, throwing 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, though just one scored while he was on the mound. His stuff kept Rockies hitters off-balanced all game. If Lee continues to pitch this well and the Phils continue to win, Ruben Amaro Jr. may bring home an Executive of the Year award for landing Lee instead of giving up the farm for Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay.
Of course the job is not finished yet. As great as Monday night’s win was, its historical impact will only be great if the Phillies can get back to the World Series and compete for another ring.
That brings us to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies opponent starting on Thursday. The Dodgers thought they were destined to win a title last year, but the Phillies got in the way. Now they will be looking for revenge.
They won’t have to look far, though. The Phillies are a team that will not be intimidated. They provided evidence of that last night by winning on the road when trailing in the ninth inning.
This series has all the makings of a classic and Phillysportsblogs will be here to break it down for you over the next few days.
Monday marked the second time this month the Phillies got to celebrate in grand fashion.
Let’s hope for two more.