Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wonder Ring Powers Activate: Phillies Get First Win

The precious.

So bright... so beautiful... ah, Precious. The Phillies 2008 World Series Champions ring has that affect, and more. After spotting the Braves two runs in the top of the first for the third game in a row, and trailing entering the bottom of the seventh 10-3, the Fightin's stormed back and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite it being only one game, starting the season 1-2 is infinitely better than 0-3.

How did it happen? Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton got the start and looked to be cruising after the first two batters, who both struck out. Then Braves SS Yunel Escobar doubled and C Brian McCann promptly homered, giving the visitors a two run lead before the good guys even had a chance to bat.

Things changed in the bottom of the second when new Phillies LF Raul Ibanez drilled an 0-1 offering from Javier Vasquez deep into the seats, plating Howard and himself to tie the game at two. That lead held for a grand total of about 10 minutes. The Braves scored five runs in the top of the third, taking a 7-2 lead. Things looked bleak.

New Phillies LF Raul Ibanez smokes a two-run HR in the bottom of the second versus the Braves on April 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

The Phils managed to cut the deficit to four in the home half of the third when CF Shane Victorino scored on an error by Braves 3B Omar Infante, in for Chipper Jones. It was all they could muster at the moment, however. Blanton made it through four innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs on 89 pitches.

The Braves put even more distance between themselves and Philadelphia in the top of the fifth. RP J.A. Happ took over for Blanton. Things didn't get any better. After walking Matt Diaz, uber tool Jordan Schafer hit his second career home run, extending Atlanta's lead to 9-3. Happ worked a flawless 6th and was relieved by Chad Durbin to start the 7th. Durbin gave up a lead off double to Casey Kotchman, proceeded to get the next tow batters out, but then walked the next three batters, plating Kocthman. 10-3 Braves; the fat lady was warming up.

But that's as far as she would get. She wouldn't be singing, at least not for the Phillies. The Braves bullpen imploded during the bottom of the 7th, giving up eight runs on only five hits. The rest of the damage came without Philadelphia hitters swinging the bat. 2B Chase Utley started things with a single and 1B Ryan Howard followed and was hit by a pitch. RF Jayson Werth walked and then Ibanez singled, scoring Utley. 3B Pedro Feliz followed that with a single of his own, scoring Howard. Deficit cut to 10-5. Pinch hitters Matt Stairs and Chris Coste followed by leadoff man Jimmy Rollins all walked, each resulting in another run scored. 10-8. Victorino, who started the inning with a ground out, singled to right scoring Stairs. Utley's second at bat of the inning ended in a walk, scoring Coste. Tie game, 10-10. Howard grounded out but his hit allowed the speedy Rollins to score. Phillies lead, 11-10. Werth flied out to end the inning. Eight runs scored on five hits, five walks, and one HBP.

Phillies RP Ryan Madson breezed through the top of the 8th, getting all three Braves to ground out on a total of four pitches. In the bottom half of the inning Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly scoring Ibanez who had walked and moved to third on a double by Peliz. After eight it was 12-10 Phillies. Unbelievable.

The emotions of the game may have gotten to LOL, Lights Out Lidge. The Phillies closer surrendered a home run to Diaz, cutting the lead to 12-11. Thankfully Lidge forced Schafer to ground out and struck out Garrett Anderson to end the game, securing the teams first win of the 2009 season.

I think the things on their fingers had something to do with the epic win.
(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

What a game. What a win. What a ring.

No comments: