“You never know until you play the game,” Manuel said before Friday’s 7-5 win over the Mets. “We’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about it ever since I’ve been here.”
On Friday, the Phillies scored six runs in the eighth inning for their fifth straight win and 13th in 15 games. Their first seven batters reached base against the Mets bullpen, which failed to protect a one-run lead for starter Jonathon Niese, who had pitched seven solid innings.
You never know.
Like Mike Sweeney, acquired in a Wednesday trade, leading off the eighth inning with his first major-league hit in 42 days. Then, Sweeney, on his last legs as a 37-year-old first baseman turned designated hitter turned back to first baseman in desperation, going from first to third on a soft single to centerfield by Jayson Werth.
“I’m not the fastest guy in the world,” Sweeney said. “But I take pride in running the bases. Today it showed how big it is.”
Reserve outfielder Ben Francisco, who had hardly played in the first few months of the season, hit a run-scoring single up the middle to tie the ballgame.
Carlos Ruiz, the 31-year-old catcher having his finest offensive season in the majors, followed with another RBI single to center. The rally was in full swing.
It was a momentous beginning to this stretch in which the Phillies play 16 of 19 games at home. The win Friday extended their home winning streak to 12 games, the franchise’s longest such streak since 1991.
Of course, the bullpen created drama in the bottom of the ninth. Little-used Danys Baez allowed two runners to reach. J.C. Romero allowed both of them to score when he served up a three-run home run to Mike Hessman.
That forced Brad Lidge to enter for the final out. Pinch-hitter Jesus Feliciano struck out looking to end the game.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia Phillies news, rumors, blog, & message board discussion forums