The Phillies got a multi-homer, 4 RBI, 3 for 5 performance from All Star 2nd baseman Chase Utley, clutch late inning relief pitching from Antonio Alfonseca and Clay Condrey and a near cycle (only missing a homer) capped by a game-winning walk-off single by All Star hopeful, shortstop Jimmy Rollins to win the series finale with Cincinnati by an 8-7 score.
The Phillies took 2 of 3 games from the Reds, picked up 1/2 game on the Mets, who were rained-out and took over 2nd place by 1/2 game again over the Atlanta Braves who had the day off. The finale win over the Reds gave the Phillies crucial momentum going into the 4 game series with the Mets, easily the biggest series of the season; first place in the NL East is on the line.
The game featured 6 lead changes with starters Matt Belisle and
Adam Eaton lasting 5 and 6 innings repectively. Eaton left with a 6-5 lead, being replaced by Ryan Madson to begin the 7th inning. Madson, however couldn’t hold the lead as the Reds knotted the game at 6-6 in the 7th on a sacrifice fly RBI by 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips.
Cincinnati took a 7-6 lead in thew 8th as shortstop Alex Gonzalez solo-homered off of Madson to leftfield with one out for his 13th of the season as the Reds took a short-lved 7-6 lead.
The Phils tied the game at 7-7 on Rollins’ 2 out RBI triple. Then Alfonseca and Condrey took over and the game remained tied into the bottom of the 10th setting the stage for Rollins’ game-winning single. Things got a bit dicey for Condrey with 2 outs in the top of the 10th with centerfielder Josh Hamilton doubling to rightfield and Alex Gonzalez being walked. However, Condrey got pinch hitter Javier Valentin to ground out to Utley to end the threat.
In the Phillies’ 10th, Rod Barajas, pinch hitting for winning pitcher Condrey, was walked by reliever Victor Santos to open the inning. After catcher Carlos Ruiz struck out, 3rd baseman Abraham Nunez singled to leftfield putting runners at first and second, setting up the situation for Rollins’ game-winning hit. Santos was charged with the loss.
AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports gives Rollins’ reaction to his game-winning hit;
“That’s what I’m supposed to do in that situation,” Rollins said. “Timing is everything. I got my opportunity tonight, it might be someone else’s opportunity tomorrow.”
Rollins… connected when the game’s future could have been in doubt. Rain had fallen through the final three innings and intensified in the 10th as puddles were beginning to form on the infield dirt.
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Thursday’s games, click here.
This weekend, the Phils entertain the New York Mets for a huge 4 game weekend series for the NL East lead which includes a Friday doubleheader. In the opener, young lefthander Cole Hamels tries again for his 10th win against Orlando Hernandez for the Mets. Hernandez specifically requested Mets manager Willie Randolph that he start in the doubleheader opener. In the nightcap, J.D. Durbin, recently called-up from the minors to take the injured Jon Lieber’s spot in the rotation, goes against against John Maine who seeks his 9th win.
On Saturday, lefthander J.A. Happ, called up Thursday from the minors will debut against Jorge Sosa for the Mets. Rookie Kyle Kendricks will go for his 3rd win since his recent call up from the minors vs Oliver Perez in the series finale on Sunday.
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on the doubleheader and all of Friday’s games, click here.