Phils’ bats explode in 8th inning rally

By TIMOTHY PARKER
Staff Writer — tparker@highhopesblog.com
_______

Shane Victorino started a huge eighth inning rally for the Phillies. (Courtesy AP)

When the 8th inning began, the Phillies faced a 2-1 deficit, and had been rattled by Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle McClellan – Who?

At the end of the 8th inning, the Phillies held a 10-2 lead over St. Louis that propelled them to their 46th, and maybe their wildest win of the year.

The Phillies (46-28) scored 9 runs in the 8th, with 8 of them coming with 2 outs.

Halladay, who was his usual outstanding self, wasn’t even a factor. He went 6 innings, allowing just 1 run, but was lifted to begin the 7th inning because of the scuffling Phillies’ offense.

Halladay’s pinch-hitter, Ross Gload, delivered with a 2 out RBI single that knotted the game at 1. Though, it wasn’t that simple. As Raul Ibanez crossed the plate, Carlos Ruiz was tagged out between 2nd and 3rd base. Though, the play barely beat the tag at home plate. If Ruiz had been tagged prior to Ibanez slide into home, the Phillies run would have been null-in void.

Reliever, Michael Stutes, who has been outstanding thus far this year, relinquished the lead back to St. Louis in the bottom of the 7th.

To be followed by….. Craziness!

Here’s the rundown of the improbable top of the 8th that saw the Cardinals implode, and saw the awakening of the Phillies slothful bats:

1. Shane Victorino singles with 1 out

2. Trever Miller walks Chase Utley

3. Cardinals manager, Tony LaRussa, replaces Miller with Jason Motte.

4. Motte hits Ryan Howard to load bases.

5. Motte hits Placido Polanco as the Phillies tie game at 2.

6.LaRussa brings it Brian Tallet to relieve Motte.

7. Raul Ibanez strikes out

8. With 2 outs, Ben Francisco, who replaced Dom Brown, singles give Phillies a 3-2 lead.

9. Miguel Batista replaces Tallet on the mound.

10. Batista walks Carlos Ruiz with the bases loaded, to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.

11. Batista walks pinch-hitter Michael Martinez with the bases loaded – 5-2 Phillies.

12. Jimmy Rollins singles to score 2 more. 7-2 Phillies

13.Cardinals replace Batista with Maikel Cleto

14. Cleto walks Victorino to reload the bases still with 2 outs.

15.Chase Utley singles as 2 more Phillies score – 9-2 Phillies

16. Ryan Howard singles as another Phillies crosses the plate – 10-2 Phillies

Phew!

The top of the 8th lasted 43 minutes overall and the Phillies brought 14 Phillies to the plate.

Suffice it to say, the Cardinals were dead at that point, and the Phillies offense had been revived, with help from the Cardinals bullpen.

The often maligned, Phils’ skipper, Charlie Manuel pushed all the right buttons, as Tony LaRussa’s decisions backfired in his face, and then some.

In the top of the 7th, the Cardinals pitched to Carlos Ruiz, assuming Manuel wouldn’t lift Halladay. But Halladay was lifted and Ross Gload did his job.

In the 8th, the Cardinals brought in Jason Motte, a right-hander to face Ryan Howard. That’s a big no-no that ended up resulting in two hit basemen and the tying run for the Phillies.

Grit, good coaching and, imploding opposing pitching, and a lot of luck guided the Phillies to victory. Though, luck is often what championship teams need.

Surely, they’ll take it.

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