He ran away from the happy mob of players sprinting from the dugout. Brian Schneider and Mike Sweeney were the first to tackle him.
“And then it was a big mess,” Ruiz said.
Trailing by seven runs in the eighth inning, the Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-9, Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
And this is one they will never forget, thanks to Ruiz.
“That’s the only Chooch I know,” outfielder Ben Francisco said.
This time, the Phillies didn’t even need Matt Stairs or Jimmy Rollins for an astonishing rally against Jonathan Broxton. The Dodgers’ closer, pitching for the first time in South Philly since blowing Game 4 of the 2009 National League Championship Series, served up yet another memorable moment in Phillies history.
And after everything – the lackluster start by Joe Blanton, more ineffective relief and plenty of failed chances at the plate – the Phillies still won.
Broxton faced five batters and retired none. The Phillies shied away from declaring their dominance over one of the game’s best relievers.
“You have to go ask him,” Charlie Manuel said. “He probably knows we beat him. It can bother him.”
The fans mockingly chanted Broxton’s name as he threw ball after ball. He hit Placido Polanco to lead off the inning. He walked Sweeney in an epic nine-pitch at-bat. Jayson Werth walked on five pitches to put the tying run on base.
Then, Francisco hit a sure double-play ball to third base that skipped right through the legs of Casey Blake and into left field. Two runs scored and the stadium – half-full because fans had left following another distasteful display from the bullpen – was as loud as it has been all season.
“I heard the crowd and I looked,” Francisco said. “The ball was in left field. We caught a break there.”
Joe Torre came to the mound to talk to his pitcher, but never had anyone warm up. This was Broxton’s game. His 22d pitch, an 88-m.p.h. slider, was smashed by Ruiz.
Werth held up at second to make sure it fell. He was almost passed on the bases by Francisco, who was running at full speed all the way. They both scored easily.
Ruiz said the team has confidence against Broxton.
“Our approach is you definitely have to see a lot of pitches,” Ruiz said. “You have to get a good pitch to hit and that’s what we did today. We were working the count.”
Danys Baez, the only Phillies reliever who did not allow a run Thursday, was credited with a win, his first since May 20.
“Finally,” Baez joked. “I was wondering how long it would take.”
When the Phillies started putting runners on in the ninth, Baez, Chad Durbin and Blanton stayed in the clubhouse. They didn’t move from their seats.
“That right there is why you play 27 outs,” Manuel said.
Blanton and the bullpen had made this game look unwinnable early. Los Angeles sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and scored three times off Blanton. He pitched 52/3 innings.”
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