"That was a great win," was what I thought to myself in the wee hours this morning. Perhaps it was because the clock said it was something like 1:00 AM on the East Coast and I was half asleep -- or perhaps a bit caught up in Jonathan Papelbon's overly excited game-clinching fist pump -- but the Phillies'come-from-behind victory on Tuesday night felt awesome. A bit like the old days even.
I say "old days" like it was so long ago that the Phillies were a team you never counted out of a game until the final strike was called. Truth is it wasn't that long ago. It's just that 2012 have been so abysmal. The Phils hadn't come from behind when trailing after seven innings all season. They were 0-38 in such instances for Pete Mackanin's sake.
That changed last night though.
The bases were loaded with two outs, the Phillies trailing the Dodgers 2-1 in the eighth inning, Hunter Pence stepped into the box to face Kenley Jansen.
Hunter had delivered two innings earlier with a big two-out single that appeared to score Ryan Howard from second but the not-exactly-fast Big Piece was called out by the home plate umpire on a real, real close play (Did you think he was safe? Tough to tell).
Surely Pence wouldn't come through again?
Chase Utley had started the eighth-inning rally by working a two-out walk. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz were subsequently hit by pitches before Ronald Belisario was yanked too late with ducks all over the pond. Charlie removed the gimpy Howard in favor of John Mayberry Jr. and it proved wise.
With Pence stepping in, fellow Level-headed Phillies fan Kulp shot me an instant message asking, "What do you think? Do they score here or no?" My response: "I'm not feeling it."
Of course I wasn't going to be feeling it. This Phillies team hadn't done it all season long. Faith had been ripped to shreds, thrown in a dumpster, and set on fire.
But that's why we watch, I guess. This team has looked a bit different since the All-Star Break.
Pence delivered with a single up the middle and Utley scored with ease as Mayberry trucked home to score behind him. It was just in time, too, as Chooch got gunned out at third to end the inning. We can forgive you that one, Carlos.
Anyway. The sub .500 Phillies won a mid-July game against the Dodgers 3-2 with some late heroics. Roy Halladay pitched solid, the bats hit in the clutch, and the bullpen surprised. It felt pretty good.
Here's what CSN's Jim Salisbury had to say about Doc's outing, "Roy Halladay acquitted himself well in his first start since May 27. He came off the disabled and went five innings and gave up five hits and two runs. He did not walk a batter and struck out six. Halladay worked some deep counts and threw 80 pitches."