Keep On Swingin': Phils Ride Huge Eighth to 10-2 Win

Keep On Swingin': Phils Ride Huge Eighth to 10-2 Win

If you suffered through six innings of silence at the plate, I hope you stayed up for the final three. Both pitchers had their way most of the night, with Roy Halladay and Kyle McLellan combining to allow only one run through six innings. Doc left the game for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh with the Phillies down by a run, and as much as it may have hurt to lift him, Charlie Manuel was rewarded with a clutch pinch hit by Ross Gload to tie the game.

After that, the Phils got real comfortable at Ryan's House. With a gracious parade of hosts coming out of the Cardinals' bullpen, the Phillies helped themselves to an nine-run eighth inning, powering their way to a 10-2 final. It was a pretty interesting ride, too... More on the Phils' big eighth, with illustrative pop culture subheads, after the jump.

Carlos Ruiz led the way all night, even when the rest of the bats were still asleep. Chooch finished up with a 4-4 showing, plus a walk that he'd later score on as part of the bloodletting that was the eighth inning.

After Gload singled in Raul Ibanez to tie the game in the sixth, with Chooch drawing attention on the base paths and preventing a throw to the plate (although ultimately ending the inning), Mike Stutes allowed a go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh. Tony LaRussa also had success in hitting for his pitcher, with Mark Hamilton singling to move Daniel Descalso over to third, and Skip Schumaker knocking him in.

McLellan watched from the dugout as the eighth inning began with a 2-1 Cardinals lead. Then, like a man witnessing his house be robbed over a closed-circuit television, he watched as five different St. Louis relievers were assaulted for five hits, four walks, two HBPs, and NINE runs.

The second of the two Cardinals out of the pen was Jason Motte, who did his best John Lannan impression, hitting the only two batters he faced, Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco. The Howard HBP (which was not happy about) loaded the bases, and the Polly plunk tied the game at 2. It was a scary moment though, with the pitch hitting him in the hand. X-rays were said to be negative after the game, and Polanco said he thinks he can play on Wednesday night.

After Motte was sent, we hope, to hell, three other relievers came in, and none could stop what had been started. Ben Francisco singled in the go-ahead run, Chooch walked hard, plating Howard, followed by Michael Martinez also drawing an RBBI. Yes, in the same inning, the Cardinals bullpen allowed a back-to-back HBPs to load the bases and score a run, and back-to-back run-scoring walks. Implosion.

Jimmy Rollins then reminded us of the immortal words of John Kreese, singling in a pair of runs. After a Shane Victorino walk (at this point it was hard not to point and laugh at the Cardinals), Chase Utley poked a single through the gap into left, scoring another pair of runs. Howard joined the party again, singling in Victorino to bring the Phillies' total to double digits.

After Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless eighth, the Phils again threatened in the ninth… well, I should say, the Cards again threatened to allow more runs, with an error and a walk coming after Ruiz singled, but Maikel Cleto ultimately got out of the inning unscathed. David Herndon struck out two in the ninth on his way to a perfect frame to put us all to bed.

Overshadowed by the schadenfreudetastic comeback here was a fine start by Halladay, who oddly walked the leadoff man and the third hitter he faced, but struck out four in the first three innings and five total, then allowed only four hits in his six frames.

It wasn't the easiest night on either team's fans, with the Cards contingent watching a massacre in the eighth, and Phillies fans riding the roller coaster from "offensive ineptitude" to "ya just can't count this team out." Could be in for an interest couple of games to finish out the series.

Photo by Scott Rovak, US Presswire

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).