Jimmy Rollins’ two out, two run double in the bottom of the ninth completed the come from behind victory to take a 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers.
Who did what?
Joe Blanton (ND) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings. He walked and struck out two.
Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 5 with a run.
Shane Victorino went 1 for 3 with a triple (1) and a run.
Chase Utley went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
Ryan Howard went 1 for 3 with a homer (2) and two RBIs.
Brad Lidge (W, 1-0) struck out two in two-thirds of an inning.
Randy Wolf (ND) allowed three runs on four hits in five and a third. He walked and struck out two.
Matt Kemp went 1 for 4 with a homer (1) and an RBI.
James Loney went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Casey Blake went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
Jonathan Broxton (L, 0-1) allowed two runs on one hit, a walk, and a hit batsman in one inning.
What does this mean?
How do you spell “resilience”?
What about “tough”?
And “never say die”?
P-H – You get the idea.
With two outs in the ninth and a one run deficit that would see the Dodgers even things up at two games apiece, the Philadelphia Phillies, like they’ve done all season, powered back in their final at-bats to rally against Jonathan Broxton and the Los Angeles Dodgers to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.
The journey to the 5-4 win started in the first inning, when Ryan Howard blasted a two out, two run rope to right field to give the Phillies an early lead behind Joe Blanton, who set down the first 10 hitters with ease.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning, with one out, that the Dodgers could muster their first base runner, when Matt Kemp drew a base on balls from Blanton. Manny Ramirez roped a two-out single for the first hit of the game, making way for James Loney, who singled to right to drive in the first Dodger run of the game. Two batters later, Russell Martin singled to left to bring in a run to even the score at 2-2.
In the top of the fifth, Matt Kemp hit a two out solo homer to give the Dodgers their first lead of the game, a lead they would add onto in the sixth, when Casey Blake blooped a two out RBI single to right to put the Dodgers up by two.
While Joe Blanton struggled after a blistering start, the exact opposite could be said for Randy Wolf, who set down 12 Phillies in a row after Ryan Howard’s first inning blast. He cruised until the sixth inning, when Shane Victorino tripled with one out, only to be brought home on a single by Chase Utley. Wolf was finished after walking Ryan Howard, with the bullpen preserving the one run lead after Manny Ramirez’s shoe string grab to rob Raul Ibanez of an RBI and possible extra bases to end the inning.
While the bullpens battled back and forth over the next two innings, it would ultimately lead to the bottom of the ninth, with the Phillies down by one run and down to their last three outs.
Jonathan Broxton, who recorded the last out in the eighth inning, was on to close things out in the ninth. He got Raul Ibanez to roll over to second base before walking pinch-hitter Matt Stairs on four pitches. After hitting Carlos Ruiz to put two on with one out, he jammed Greg Dobbs, who looped a soft liner to third base.
With two on and two out, Broxton went to work against Jimmy Rollins, who fell into a quick 0-1 hole. Two pitches later, Rollins lined a double to the gap, scoring pinch runner Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz to give the Phillies the 5-4 win.
And just like that, the Phillies, who were looking a 2-2 series tie in the face, took a commanding 3-1 series lead. One win away from their second straight World Series.
Without question, this was the best game of the 2009 postseason. It had everything: an early pitchers duel, a battle of the bullpens, and ultimately, a comeback Phillies victory.
Joe Blanton, who took the no decision, was solid. Despite getting knocked around in the middle innings, Blanton didn’t look a bit like a man who hasn’t started since September. He threw strikes early and often, and more than anything, he fell prey to an inconsistent strike zone rather than inability.
The Phillies’ bullpen, which we last saw was losing game two of the series, was great. Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson had very little trouble in their innings, as they kept the Phillies within a run. Perhaps the best sight from the ‘pen was Brad Lidge, who struck out both batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, using both his fastball and his slider with aplomb.
But it was the offense, this unrelenting offense, that stole the show. They jumped out to an early lead against Randy Wolf, and despite being slowed down in the middle innings, they managed to keep themselves within striking distance. It was in the ninth inning that this team showed its true colors, as they rallied against one of the best closers in the game to walk-off with the victory.
And just like that, the Phillies are one win away from their second straight trip to the Fall Classic. And I can think of no better quote to leave you with than that of ‘Duk from Big League Stew.
I think most baseball fans follow their teams in hopes they’ll one day get to follow a team like the Phillies. What a run they’re on.
Truer words have never been spoken.
What’s next for our heroes?
In game five of the series, Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.97) takes on Vicente Padilla (1-0, 0.63).
- In the first inning of tonight’s game, Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer, making him the first player in history to drive in a run in eight straight postseason games…in the same season.
- In 2009, the Dodgers were 78-3 when entering the ninth with a lead.
- You guys wanna see something cool? Head over to Fan Graphs and check out the live game graph from game four. You see that spikey yellow line at the very end? That is literally the visual representation of taking a dump in one’s pants. Coincidence?
- Oh, one last thing: I love this team.
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