Anytime you’ve got a game as close as last night’s contest between the Rockies and Phillies, you’re going to have some pretty exhausted fans. It’s taxing to sit through that kind of thing. Still, despite their loss and presumed exhaustion, SBN’s Purple Row came up with some good stuff post-game:
Sunday night was a game two teams wanted, but only one could have, and after a heavyweight slugfest, it was the Philadelphia Phillies that came out on top with a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies, taking a 2-1 series lead in the best of five and putting the Rockies in a must win situation for Monday.
Philadelphia drew first blood off Jason Hammel with a Chase Utley solo home run in the first inning. The Rockies also jumped on J.A. Happ early, racking up 35 pitches seen against the left hander in the first inning in the process of scoring two runs on singles by Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki, Garrett Atkins and an RBI groundout from Todd Helton. In the third they added one more run on another Atkins hit, this time a two out double.
After Hammel settled down through the rest of the Phillies lineup the first time through, he ran into serious trouble the second time around and gave the lead back to Philadelphia with a three run fourth. Carlos Gonzalez answered with a solo home run to tie it in the bottom of the inning, and the two teams exchanged runs in the sixth and seventh, respectively. Rafael Betancourt got out of a difficult jam in the top of the eighth after Raul Ibanez walked and Pedro Feliz hit a bloop double to left field with one out. Betancourt struck out Carlos Ruiz, who already had two hits and two RBI and pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the threat.
The ninth, however, proved to be the Rockies undoing, as Huston Street gave up a single up the middle to Jimmy Rollins, saw him sacrificed to second on a Shane Victorino bunt, and then moved to third when a little dink back to the mound by Chase Utley proved problematic for Street. Utley was called safe at first with a single, and a deep fly out by Ryan Howard was able to score Rollins.
While the Phillies fans at SBN’s The Good Phight were rightfully “exhausted but exhilarated”:
If you looked past the absurdly late start time and the absolutely friggin’ insane cold temperature—below 30 degrees by the last innings—the pattern for how the Phillies would win their biggest game of the year actually began to lay out with the third batter of the evening. Minutes into what would be an epic of four-plus hours, Chase Utley stepped to the plate with two outs. Utley, a middling 2 for 8 through the first two games of the Division Series after a miserable .204/.304/.343 performance in September, crushed a pitch from Rockies starter Jason Hammel over the right-center field wall to give his team a quick 1-0 lead. Utley made his presence felt with the bat all night, figuring in two big rallies later on and finishing with three hits and a walk.
Happ had no need for redemption after his outstanding regular season, but his first career playoff start isn’t likely one he’ll remember fondly. The rookie lefty needed more than 30 pitches to get through the first inning as the Rockies scored twice to take a 2-1 lead, and he ultimately lasted just three innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. But his teammates took him off the hook with three runs in the top of the fourth. Shane Victorino led off with a walk, advanced to second on an Utley single and scored on Ryan Howard’s single to right-center. After Hammel walked Jayson Werth, he got ahead of Raul Ibanez. But the veteran left fielder—another player look to silence doubters after a mostly pedestrian second half—came back in the at-bat to draw the first and biggest of his three walks for the game, tying the score at 3. After Pedro Feliz grounded into a 1-2-3 double play, Carlos Ruiz put the Phils back ahead with an RBI single that scored Howard. […]
With Madson used—exactly when he should have been, by the way, with the game on the line in the seventh—Charlie Manuel called on the closer whose reversal of fortune has been the biggest stain on a mostly successful Phillies season, Colorado native Brad Lidge. It was quickly clear that this Lidge had something over the helpless hurler seen a month ago getting smacked around by the likes of the Nationals and Marlins, as he induced an easy groundout from Brad Hawpe to start the inning. But Gonzalez had another superb at-bat, getting ahead 3-0, taking a strike, then fouling off pitch after pitch before taking a close fastball outside for the walk. He stole second with pinch-hitter Jason Giambi up, but had to stay there when the aging slugger fouled out to third. Lidge seemed to pitch around Todd Helton, and put the potential winning run on with another walk. But Tulowitzki, whose sac fly had plated Gonzalez two innings earlier, could only manage a shallow fly ball to left. Ben Francisco settled under it, squeezed, and pumped his fist, and Lidge turned to accept the handshakes and high fives of his teammates—who stood in for who knows how many thousands of exhausted but exhilarated Phillies fans everywhere.
Game 4 is tomorrow night, and the first pitch is set for 6 EST.