Following what could only be described as a "disaster" of an opening game of a series, the Phillies dropped a rare low-scoring Coors Field contest. While Kyle Kendrick did his best to surrender just three runs in seven full innings, the bats that were meant to support him merely let him down. With just one game remaining in their annual trip to the Rocky Mountains, Ryne Sandberg's squad needed to salvage at least one game in the tri-series. Leading the team to the field would be right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez, who was coming off an impressive outing against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Looking to keep the already quiet Philly bats silent was fellow right-hander Juan Nicasio.
The Game: In each of the first two games of the series, the Phillies could score but one run in each of the contests. During Easter Sunday's afternoon contest, Jimmy Rollins took care of that run early in the game. Very early. With one away in the top of the first inning, J-Roll squared a ball up and mashed it into the right field seats for a solo homerun. After just half an inning, the Phillies led 1-0.
Unfortunately, that lead would not last, and neither would any lead throughout the day. Hernandez struck out Charlie Blackmon to begin the first, but Brandon Barnes followed with a single. Things looked good when Carlos Gonzalez lined out to center field to put two away. But, as the saying warns, walks will haunt you, and a walk to Troy Tulowitzki haunted Roberto Hernandez. Following Tulo's two-out walk, Justin Morneau drove the ball into center field for a base hit. Barnes was able to round third and score, tying the game at 1.
After a brief hiatus in the second, the scoring resumed in the third. Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins were both set down at the start of the inning, but Chase Utley saved the frame by doubling. That gave Ryan Howard the chance to lift a ball the opposite way, just landing over the fence and into the left field seats for a two-run homerun. The Philles regained the lead at 3-1...
...but that wouldn't last either. Blackmon was hit by the first Hernandez pitch of the third inning, and Barnes singled for the second time in the game to put two on with the heart of the order coming up. Carlos Gonzalez did ground into a force out second, but that left runners at the corners with one away. This opened the door for Tulowitzki to double and bring Blackmon home, while CarGo advanced to third. Morneau came through once again, grounding to Howard at first and scoring the team's third run. Nolan Arenado singled next, making the score 4-3 after just three.
Roberto Hernandez began pitching the fifth inning, but would not make it all the way through. Barnes singled for his third hit of the game, then stole second base. Carlos Gonzalez finally broke through and doubled right after, bring Barnes in to score once more. After Tulowitzki singled to move CarGo to third, Hernadez was replaced by Mario Hollands. While Hollands allowed a sacrifice fly to Morneau, he retired all three batters he faced to allow minimal damage, and 6-3 was the score.
The Phillies would have a response in the top of the sixth inning, after Ryan Howard, yes, that one, tripled to start things off. Marlon Byrd then singled into center field and brought RyHo in to score the Phillies' fourth run. Domonic Brown would also single, and Freddy Galvis, pinch-hitting for Cody Asche, hit a sacrifice fly to allow Byrd to come home. The Phillies inched back closer, arriving at a 6-5 score.
The bottom of the sixth inning saw a reviewed play go the Phillies way. Jordan Pachecho tripled to begin the frame, and was followed by pinch hitter Corey Dickerson. Dickerson grounded the ball toward the middle, where Rollins grabbed the ball and threw home to stop Pachecho. Pachecho ran back toward third, where he was finally tagged out by Galvis. Galvis then threw the ball to Utley at second where Dickerson was running. He was initially called safe, but replay showed that Utley held the ball to his leg while Dickerson came off the bag for a brief moment. Ryne Sandberg challenged the play and won, successfully recording a double play.
Ben Revere used his speed to bunt his way to first base in the seventh inning. Rollins followed up with a double into left field. Revere was nearly picked off at third after overrunning the bag, bat was ultimately ruled safe. Chase Utley nabbed a sacrifice fly of his own, tying the game at 6. Having already recorded a single, a homerun, and a triple, Ryan Howard came to the plate seeking the Phillies first cycle since David Bell in 2004. He lifted a ball into right field that went under the glove of Barnes and allowed Howard to move to second. Rollins scored, and it initially appeared Howard had secured the cycle. However, the game scorer ruled the play a single and an error by Barnes. The run, however, did give the Phillies a 7-6 lead. Later on, a Domonic Brown sac fly made it 8-6.
As he has been all series, Tulowitzki continued to rake the ball, and doubled at the onset of the seventh inning. Justin Morneau came up next, and drove in his fourth and fifth RBIs of the ballgame with a two-run moonshot to right field, tying the game at 8.
Because it wouldn't be a Colorado ball game if it not, the scoring continued well late into the game. Galvis singled and Revere reached base with one away to put two runners on base. Jimmy Rollins then singled to score Galvis. A groundout by Chase Utley also scored a run, and the Phillies led things 10-8 going into the bottom of the eighth inning.
Of course, in that eighth inning, the Rockies had to score once more. Antonio Bastardo surrendered a solo homerun to Charlie Blackmon, moving the score to 10-9. The Phillies nearly had an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Galvis recorded an infield single to score Marlon Byrd. However, a review showed Galvis was thrown out, and the game remained a one-run difference into the bottom of the ninth, where Jonathan Papelbon entered the game.
Papelbon would allow a leadoff single to Arenado in the ninth frame. Josh Rutledge sacrificed Arenado to second, but Jordan Pachecho was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with one away. Wilin Risario hit into an infield fly rule out, putting two away in the inning, but with Charlie Blackmon coming to the plate. After the tension-filled at bat went to 2-2, Blackmon bounced a ball to Galvis at third. His throw to first took a mighty scoop from John Mayberry Jr. (who replaced Howard) to be caught, and a review was even used. However, it the call was upheld, and the final out was secured. Papelbon had the save, and the Phillies stole a 10-9 victory.
Impact: With 15 hits and 10 runs scored, you could, at least for a day, think happy thoughts about this Phillies offense. Also a positive was the fact that the team put together seven extra base hits when they hadn't had a single one since Brown's homerun on Monday night. While that many ticks on the scorecard will not last the rest of the roadtrip, it is still a possible catalyst headed to face a difficult Dodgers ballclub.
Up Next: At 10:10 eastern time tomorrow night, the Phillies will travel to those Los Angeles Dodgers, where Cliff Lee will set to take on Paul Maholm.