They were the recipients of both yesterday afternoon, when, for the second straight day, they overcame an early deficit and endured a ninth-inning tight-rope walk to continue their longest stretch of success in months.
Lidge pumped his fist emphatically after getting Ryan Spilborghs to ground out with the bases loaded, 1 day after he struck out Ian Stewart with the bases loaded to complete a 4-3 win.
Manager Charlie Manuel was slightly less emphatic when asked if he was 100 percent committed to Lidge as his closer, although he reiterated his intent to continue to use the high-priced righthander in save situations.
“When you say 100 percent commitment, I think we definitely have a commitment there,” Manuel said of Lidge, who is signed to a 3-year, $37.5 million contract that runs through next season. “I mean, we committed to him 3 years ago, you know, and that’s kind of who we have down there.”
The Phillies entered the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead that seemed comfortable given the fact that the Rockies had managed to score just seven runs in the first 35 innings of the series. Righthander Joe Blanton allowed two runs in the first inning, but held Colorado scoreless in the next five. The Phillies’ offense, meanwhile, scored three runs in the second, making some of their own breaks and taking advantage of a couple that were gift-wrapped.
Usual reserves Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs – lefthanded hitters who got the start against Rockies righty Jason Hammel – singled and doubled to set up Brian Schneider’s two-run triple. Schneider, who hadn’t tripled since September 2007, might have been held to a double if Colorado centerfielder Carlos Gonzalez hadn’t rolled into leftfielder Seth Smith after trying to field the ball in the alley.
Regardless, Schneider wouldn’t have scored except for a couple of errors on Giambi, who first missed an easy throw from Hammel on what should have been a groundout by Blanton, then threw wildly to second while trying to start a doubleplay on a routine grounder by Jimmy Rollins.
Schneider ended up scoring on the throwing error to second base. The Phillies tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning on RBI singles by Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez.
Blanton, who had a 7.28 ERA in his first eight starts, finished the day with his sixth quality start in his last eight outings, allowing two runs in six innings, allowing six hits, three walks and striking out two.”
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