Aug 292010

Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins

August 28 Philadelphia Daily News

“On paper, the moment will fall victim to the limitations of black-and-white numbers and black-and-white words. But for those who actually witnessed Jimmy Rollins rounding third, who watched him approach home plate deader than a 12-point buck, who watched Yorvit Torrealba catch and turn for what should have been the latest in a long line of brutal developments, there can be no mistaking the magnitude of what happened next.

Rollins dropped into a slide, twisted his body to his right, and raised his hand, slapping home plate as he sailed past it, Torrealba’s glove reaching in vain for something that wasn’t there.

Safe, the umpire ruled. Win, the Phillies did.

And just when you thought all hope was gone, the Phillies held on for a 3-2 win in 12 innings to trim their deficit behind the Braves to two games.

Rollins’ mad dash home from second and masterful slide on a no-out single to center by Placido Polanco in the top of the 12th snapped the Phillies’ four-game losing streak and salvaged a game that appeared lost in the bottom of the ninth.

Despite their inability to score more than three runs for the fifth straight game, the Phillies avoided a matching losing streak thanks to eight strong innings from Roy Oswalt and timely hits from Polanco and Raul Ibanez. They overcame Brad Lidge’s fifth blown save, which squandered a 2-1 lead they had taken on Ibanez’ go-ahead single in the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Charlie Manuel elected to hit for Oswalt, who had thrown 102 pitches while holding the Padres to one run on five hits and no walks in eight innings.

Lidge was riding a stretch of 10 straight scoreless outings that included seven saves, but this one unfolded in excruciating fashion: first a leadoff single to Matt Stairs, then a two-out intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez, then an 0-2 pitch that hit Ryan Ludwick to load the bases.

Then, on a 2-2 count to Chase Headley, who would later ground out to end the inning, Lidge was called for a balk that pushed the tying run home.

Padres starter Mat Latos limited the Phillies to one run on five hits and two walks, striking out six in seven innings before turning the game over to what had been one of the National League’s stingiest bullpens. Oswalt was even better, allowing one run on five hits and no walks while striking out six in eight innings.”

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