“Carlos Ruiz had to wait an inning to launch the game-winner.
At the plate with one out in the ninth inning of a tie game, the catcher watched the Phillies’ shot at winning in regulation end with two straight outs on the basepaths.
But when he finally got a chance to swing, he made it count, leading off the 10th inning with a solo home run to leftfield that lifted the Phillies to a 5-4 win that capped a series sweep over the Marlins.
It was a whacky game, to say the least, one that featured blown leads by both teams, a controversial fair-or-foul call, and a save by closer Brad Lidge.
And the end of it all, the Phillies emerged with their 12th win in 14 games, keeping pace with the Braves, who remain two games ahead of them in the National League East. At 60-48, they are a season-beat 12 games over .500.
“I feel good,” said Ruiz, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI, recording multiple hits for the sixth time in nine games in raising his average to .298. “I feel relaxed. I feel like I’m using more of my hands right now. Since I’m thinking to hit the ball in the middle of the field, I can see the breaking balls better, and that’s the way I’m working right now everyday.”
The pitch he hit was a slider from lefty Will Ohman, and it capped off a game with no shortage of wild moments.
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning on a two-run double by Ruiz, putting righthander Roy Oswalt in position to earn his first victory with his new team. Oswalt, acquired last Thursday in a trade with the Astros, held the Marlins scoreless for the first six innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out five. But with Oswalt at 109 pitches and men on first and second and one out in the seventh, Phils manager Charlie Manuel called on lefty J.C. Romero to face lefty pinch-hitter Chad Tracy.
“I understand the situation,” said Oswalt, who added that he has been battling a case of dead arm that usually strikes him this time of year. “I had 100-something pitches and it was pretty warm out there today. I kind of battled through some innings early and I really didn’t find my mechanics until late in the game.”
But after the Marlins countered with pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy, things spun out of control. Murphy hit an RBI double that cut the lead to 2-1, and Romero walked the next two batters to force the tying run home.
Jose Contreras came on to work out of the jam, but not before allowing a base hit to Gaby Sanchez that gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead.
“[Oswalt] had some long innings, and he’d thrown 109 or 110 pitches,” Manuel said. “I wanted to put Romero on Tracy. That’s kind of how I looked at it, and it didn’t work out . . . I could tell he wanted to stay. He didn’t have to say nothing.””
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