The Phillies needed three outs for a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds and manager Charlie Manuel knew exactly how he wanted to get them, even if it meant enduring the wrath of the 84th straight sellout crowd today at Citizens Bank Park.
J.C. Romero trotted in from the bullpen to start the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory and needed four pitches to strike out the Reds’ Jay Bruce in a lefty-vs.-lefty confrontation.
The 44,913 managers seated in the stands wanted to see more Romero.
Manuel, accompanied by a loud chorus of boos, called on closer Brad Lidge.
“I heard them – doesn’t bother me,” Manuel said. “I’ve been in this game a long time. The fans have every right . . . to do what they want to do. They pay the money to come to the game and I have no problem with that.”
Manuel, of course, gets paid to make the decisions.
“If I’m not mistaken, I heard them all cheering at the end,” he said. “I might not be too smart, but my ears are still good.”
Lidge used a down-in-the-zone slider to strike out Drew Stubbs for the second out before inducing a game-ending pop fly from pinch-hitter Miguel Cairo to save a win that allowed the Phillies to head into the all-star break with some momentum and a healthy dose of confidence.
“This four-game series proved that now we’re going to take care of the low-scoring close games, too,” Lidge said after picking up his sixth save. “If we continue to win games like this, we’re in great shape. We feel like we’re the best team in the National League until someone proves us otherwise.”