On a chilly night in April, and down to their last three outs, the Phillies were staring into the eyes of a 6-8 record, and yet another slow start. The Houston Astros were in town for a three game set, and by all indications, it should have been an easy go for the Fightins.
But as we all know, nothing ever seems to come easy for the Boys from the City of Brotherly Love.
Jimmy Rollins wasn’t in the starting lineup, Carlos Ruiz was batting second, and Adam Eaton was on the mound. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that this was a split-squad game against the Blue Jays.
The reality is, the Phillies needed something big to happen. Perhaps something miraculous even. Well, something did happen, and it’s our 10th best moment of the 2008 regular season.
With a 3-0 lead going into the ninth inning, Houston elected to pull starter Shawn Chacon, who had thrown 8 solid innings of shutout baseball, in favor of their seasoned closer, Jose Valverde.
While most would be inclined to throw in the towel at this point, and it would be a lie to say that I disagree, it was nonetheless a disconcerting situation for the Phillies. With only three outs left, and only four hits all game, it was turning into one of those “here we go again” moments.
Then, something magical happened.
After pinch hitter Chris Snelling promptly deposited the first pitch he saw into the right field stands, Chase Utley did what he does best and took one for the team to reach base. After Ryan Howard continued his April funk by striking out, Pat Burrell, who was for so many years the ire of Philadelphia, tied the game with an opposite field (!) home run, thus continuing his legendary first half run.
With the game all tied up, Geoff Jenkins, one of the newest additions to the team, battled Valverde to an 11 pitch at-bat, which finally ended with Jenkins striking out, but not before he reached first base when the ball skidded away from catcher Brad Ausmus and towards the Phillies’ dugout.
With Jenkins on first, fellow newcomer Pedro Feliz roped a double down the left field line, which sent the not very fleet of foot Jenkins to blow through a stop sign by third base coach Steve Smith, to narrowly (and I mean n-a-r-r-o-w) beat the perfect relay from Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada.
After the jump, see the view from the first base line as the two new guys make their mark…
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