Phillies’ sacrifice stunt deciding factor in extra-inning win

Posted by Kevin Durso

Once again, the Phillies were going with the limited lineup. No Ryan Howard, no Jimmy Rollins, no Chase Utley, no Raul Ibanez. And somehow, it worked again, as the Phillies kept on defying the odds. In the first three games of this four-game series with the Brewers, the Phillies have managed to win two games with comfortable leads heading to the ninth. Tonight was the closest of the three. And it took almost every bat the Phillies had, three bullpen arms, and a little luck, but the Phillies kept picking up win after win, and trimming the magic numbers.

The Phillies jumped on the board in the first with a bang, as Hunter Pence blasted a solo shot with two outs to give the Phillies the early lead.

The Brewers were already behind before Cliff Lee even took the mound. Lee had carried a 30+ innings scoreless streak into this game. Quickly the Brewers reminded Lee and the Phillies that it wasn't August anymore. An error by Michael Martinez allowed Casey McGehee to reach on a fielder's choice and take second. When Yuniesky Betancourt singled up the middle to follow, McGehee came around third with a vengeance, and plowed over Carlos Ruiz. The throw from Shane Victorino beat McGehee home, but McGehee's tackle jarred the ball loose and scored to tie the game.

In the fourth, the Brewers scored another run on a groundout, after Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder opened the inning with hits. Lee would buckle down for a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

That would prove huge in the fifth, as Placido Polanco tied the game up with a solo shot to left.

Cliff Lee worked around a few jams in the late innings. He had to work around a two-out double in the sixth, and stranded two more baserunners in the seventh. Lee finished with seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits, walking two and striking out seven.

In the eighth, it was Brad Lidge on for the Phillies. Lidge allowed Braun and Fielder to reach, Fielder on an intentional walk. Lidge then struck out McGehee, and got Betancourt to ground out to end the inning.

With the game still tied in the ninth, Mike Stutes fired a perfect ninth, including a strikeout of Jonathan Lucroy.

The game went to extras, and the Phillies went to work on a chance at the win. Raul Ibanez led off the inning with a double. Carlos Ruiz came up with a simple task: get Ibanez to third. That's when the Brewers threw this one away. Ruiz laid down a perfect bunt, and LaTroy Hawkins threw it into the crowd. Ibanez would score, and Ruiz moved to second. The Phillies would strand Ruiz at third that inning, but the damage was done.

Ryan Madson came on for the save, and instantly put himself in trouble with a leadoff walk to Corey Hart. Craig Counsell bunted him over to second. Madson then got Ryan Braun to strike out, and elected to walk Prince Fielder intentionally to get the McGehee. McGehee worked ahead in the count 3-0, but would ground out to third to end the game, and give the Phillies their sixth straight win, a 3-2 win in ten innings.

This game certainlly featured a little bit of everything. The offense did just enough, once again with a shorthanded lineup, and the pitching held the Phillies in another game that could have gotten out of reach in a hurry.

On the offensive front, Hunter Pence was the star. He reached base all five times he was up, going 3-for-3 with a home run. Placido Polanco also added his first home run since June 10th. Carlos Ruiz' bunt in the tenth was perfect in every sense, and that would be the deciding factor.