DENVER– The Phillies came from behind today to beat the Rockies on a damp, dreary day in Denver. Colorado jumped to an early lead on a four run first inning, making Phillies’ starter Chan Ho Park throw forty-eight pitches in the inning.
As the rains grew stronger, but the Phillies bullpen controled the damage, after Park was knocked out after just 3.1. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bats chipped at the Rockies’ lead, eventually tying the score five-five on a Chase Utley two-run home run to right field in the eighth inning off Manny Corpas.
Then in the ninth Pedro Feliz lead off with a bloop double down the left field line. Chris Coste, filling in for the injured Carlos Ruiz, laid down a nice sac bunt, advancing Feliz to third. That is when Charlie Manuel called on NLCS hero Matt Stairs to get the run home. But Stairs wouldn’t settle for a sac-fly, he crushed a two run home run off of Rockies’ closer Huston Street.
“That’s why Stairs is on our team, man,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said when asked by reporters about the home run. “Stairs is amazing.”
“My approach doesn’t change,” Stairs told Todd Zolecki. “It’s amazing how it just came out last year that I try to hit home runs. It’s been like that for 15 years. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like to, but it seems like the last couple times it’s worked pretty well.”
Many remember Stairs’ moon-shot at Dodger Stadium in last year’s NLCS. For Stairs, that was an emotional moment in his career. “I think they realized how special that home run was for the team and for the city of Philadelphia,” he said to Zolecki. “I’ve been pretty good being able to zone out and not hear fans and the cheers and stuff. The first night I walked with the bases loaded and my wife told me I got an unbelievable ovation. But during the ring ceremony I made sure I listened to it. You get emotional. I don’t know how many more times I’m going to be doing it. If I keep on doing this I’ll be playing for awhile, but it’s very nice to know that it was a big win in Phillies history. It was the biggest win in my history.”
With the win, the Phillies finnally seem to be rolling. Having 28 hits between the last two games of the series, the Phillies offense that we saw win the World Series is coming around again. It seems like the Phillies may have pulled themselves together, after things were looking gloomy, having inconsistent offense and poor starting pitching in their series in Philadelphia. Starting pitching still seems to be an issue, as no Phillies starters recorded a “quality start” in their first outing of the year.
On the offensive side, things are looking a little better. Chase Utley is leading the team batting well over .400 (.476). Aside from Utley, the new addition of Raul Ibanez is looking promising, Ibanez has three home runs already this season. There are still some kinks to work out for the Phils, but the world champs apear to be returning to their championship form.
Spencer Reiter contributed to this report. Email him at email@example.com.