SAN DIEGO – Two nights after one of their worst losses of the season, the Phillies rallied for one of their most improbable wins of the season Wednesday night.
Improbable because a cast of relievers who had awful ERAs at Triple A helped the bullpen pitch seven -- seven -- scoreless innings.
Improbable because struggling Delmon Young had the game’s most important hit and swung the bat like the right-handed-hitting run producer the Phillies expected but have yet to see.
Improbable because the Phillies scored two runs in the top of the 13th inning without a hit leading up to those runs.
“That’s why you keep playing,” manager Charlie Manuel said after his team rallied for a 7-5 win over the San Diego Padres long after most of the folks back home in Philadelphia had gone to bed (see Instant Replay).
The game lasted four hours, 10 minutes.
Cole Hamels had another poor outing and was on his way to becoming the first pitcher in team history to lose 12 games before July when Young tied the game at 5-5 with a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning. Young also doubled and scored a run earlier in the game. His performance suggested that he might have eavesdropped on Manuel before the game when the manager spoke about it being time for Young to start producing.
“He needs to get going,” Manuel said before the game.
Hamels allowed five extra-base hits in squandering an early lead for the second game in a row.
“Another poor performance,” Hamels said. “Luckily the team picked me up.”
He has a 4.58 ERA in 17 starts.
The Phils will have more patience with Hamels than Young. They have to.
“How can I get Hamels right?” Manuel said after the game. “Keep pitching him and one of these days it will break for him.”
The Phillies only had two hits after Young’s home run in the eighth. They managed to stay in the game with some stunningly good bullpen work that included:
Two scoreless innings from J.C. Ramirez, who joined the team last week after recording a 6.75 ERA at Triple A.
Two scoreless innings from Phillippe Aumont, just back to the majors after recording a 6.75 ERA at Triple A.
Jake Diekman (5.70 at Triple A) and Joe Savery (4.03 at Triple A) each pitched a scoreless inning before Jonathan Papelbon, who blew the save in Monday night’s 10-inning loss, rebounded with his 15th save. Savery got the win.
“The bullpen held ‘em,” Manuel said. “They did a tremendous job.”
The performance of the young relievers came one day after Mike Adams learned he was out for the season with a shoulder injury and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said he didn’t expect to make any major additions to the bullpen, that he was eager to see what the kids could do.
The kids were all right Wednesday night.
Manuel suggested the Phils had something else going for them in this game: A little fight.
“You’d be surprised what you can do when you really want to play,” Manuel said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’ve always said that takes you a long way. It might not take you to the Promised Land but you can play a lot better and you can have a lot more fun when you win games.”
Manuel was asked whether his team lacked that attitude on some nights.
“I think baseball in general is kind of like that,” he said. “Both leagues. That’s what I think. Don’t blame my team.”
The Phillies’ resiliency showed up on a few plays. Kevin Frandsen had an important pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the seventh inning. It came after a dropped foul pop up gave him new life and cut the Padres’ lead to 5-3.
Young’s game-tying homer, preceded by a two-out, hustle double by Domonic Brown, was another example. So were the Phils’ at-bats in the decisive 13th inning. Chase Utley was hit by a pitch, Brown drew a two-out walk and Ben Revere, despite not getting a hit, worked an eight-pitch at-bat and put the ball in play. Second baseman Logan Forsythe booted the ball and Utley alertly scampered home. Forsythe threw wildly to the plate for a second error and the Phils had a second unearned run.
“Great at-bat by Ben,” Manuel said. “He battled. Fouled off a lot of tough curveballs. Got it done.”
And so did the Phillies.
They ended up taking two of three from the Padres and are 38-41, seven games back in the NL East, as they head to Los Angeles for four games with the Dodgers, who have won five in a row.