The series with the Reds had went from exhilarating to frustrating following the 22-1 romp on Monday. They managed only three runs last night despite having plenty of opportunities against Reds starter Aaron Harang, including a bases loaded, no out situation that was vaporized.
Last season, after the Phillies opened up the series in St. Louis with a 20-2 win, the Phillies managed just eight runs in the next two games, both losses. The same appeared to be happening with this series.
They brought a 3-3 tie into the ninth inning last night, but Brad Lidge did what he’s done best this year: he blew it, allowing the Reds to take the lead with an RBI single by catcher Ramon Hernandez on a slider that hung right over the plate. Tonight, the Phils brought a 2-2 tie into the ninth inning and did not surrender the lead as Lidge did not pitch.
Pedro Feliz led off the bottom of the ninth with a line drive single to left field off of David Weathers. Paul Bako and Eric Bruntlett, the Phillies’ weakest hitters yet somehow found five plate appearances between the two of them, made outs one and two in the inning, intimating that yet another game would go into extra innings (11 of their 81 games already have).
Jimmy Rollins worked a walk to put runners at first and second with two outs, bringing up NL All-Star Final Vote candidate Shane Victorino. Shane had been on a roll in July with a 1.132 OPS. That continued tonight as he blooped a single into shallow left field and Feliz crossed home plate ahead of the throw from left fielder Laynce Nix.
Victorino is locked in a tight race for the 33rd and final All-Star roster spot with San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, currently the leader. Shane’s been padding his resume, though, with the walk-off tonight and the 4-for-5 performance in the 22-1 rout on Monday.
Reward Shane for his recent success and cast as many votes for him as you can. Go to the Phillies website and click on one of the many links to the “voting booth” (a.k.a. a pop-up screen). You can vote as often as you’d like so cast about a thousand votes before you keel over and pass out.