Rockie Mountain High
- Updated: April 20, 2014
The Phillies scored exactly two runs in the first two games of the weekend series in Colorado.
They had not recorded an extra base hit in their last four games. The last two of which coming in the thin air, hitter friendly confines of Coors Field.
Sunday the bats came to life, and the pitching took the day off.
The Phils struck first in the first, when Jimmy Rollins launched a solo shot to right field for a 1-0 lead.
The Rockies quickly tied it in the bottom of the inning, when first baseman Justin Morneau singled home right fielder Brandon Barnes. This would happen over and over, and over again today.
The Phillies scored again in the third inning, when Ryan Howard clubbed the first of his four hits on the day. With Chase Utley on first, Howard laced one the opposite way just over the left field wall for a two run home run, and a 3-1 lead.
Phils starter Roberto Hernandez labored through just four innings today, allowing six runs on nine hits He also hit a man and walked one.
Other than Friday night’s 12-1 defeat, Phillies’ pitching had kept them in the games this week with very little run support. Today the Phils continued to find ways to score, while the pitching continued to give it right back.
Trailing 6-3 in the sixth inning, Howard led off with a rare triple. He then scored on a Marlon Byrd single, cutting the Rockies’ lead to 6-4. After a pitching change, Dom Brown singled to put runners on first and second.
Freddy Galvis then pinch hit for third baseman Cody Asche, when a passed ball allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Galvis then hit a sacrifice fly to center-field that brought Byrd home, making it 6-5.
In the bottom of the inning, an unconventional double play saved a run for the Phillies. Rockies catcher Jordan Pacheco led off the inning with a triple for his only hit of the day.
The next batter was Corey Dickerson pinch hitting for the pitcher. With the infield drawn in, Dickerson grounded sharply up the middle, which Rollins nabbed with a diving stop. Jimmy then threw home and the Phils nailed Pacheco in a run down.
Galvis then threw to Utley at second, where Dickerson was initially ruled safe. The Phillies would challenge the call, and the replays showed that Dickerson’s foot came off the bag as Utley made the tag. He was ruled out for a 6-2-5-4 double play and no runs scored.
The Phils finally took the lead in the seventh inning, when Ben Revere led off with a bunt single. Rollins followed with a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. Utley then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game a 6-6.
Howard then notched his fourth hit of the day, a single to right-field to score Rollins and put the Phillies ahead at 7-6. A fielding error on the play by Barnes allowed Howard to reach second.
Byrd then grounded up the middle, and second baseman Josh Rutledge could not field it cleanly. That allowed Byrd to reach first and Howard to third. Brown followed with a sac fly of his own to plate Howard and push the lead to 8-6.
It did not last long.
Jake Diekman, in his second inning of work, allowed a lead-off double to Troy Tulowitzki. Diekman then gave up a home run to Justin Morneau. It was the second time this week that Diekman allowed a home run to tie the game or give up the lead.
Just like that, the game was tied up at 8-8. Diekman would strike out the next three batters, reaching 98 miles per hour in the process.
To their credit, the Phillie offense fought back yet again, retaking the lead in the eighth.
Galvis led off with a single, and after a pop out by Tony Gwynn, Jr., Revere and Rollins hit back to back singles to bring Galvis home.
With the score now 9-8, and Revere on third, Utley grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Revere to score, making it 10-8 Phillies.
Not to be outdone, the Rockies answered with one run in bottom of the eighth on a solo shot by Charlie Blackmon off of Antonio Bastardo, making it 10-9.
Jonathan Papelbon took the ball in the ninth, and after a single, hit batsman and a replay challenge, he got the job done for a 10-9 Phillies victory.
All told, the Phillies finished with 15 hits to go along with their 10 runs. The catalyst today was Howard, who went 4-5 with three runs batted in and also scored three runs. He came up a double shy of the cycle.
The bullpen struggled again today, allowing a combined three runs on six hits and three walks in five innings of work.
Still, the Phillies were able to salvage a game in an otherwise dreadful series in Colorado.
They sit in last place in the National League East at 8-10. They travel to Los Angeles to begin a four game series with the Dodgers.
Cliff Lee gets the start tomorrow night at Dodger Stadium.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of TheState.com