The decision was questioned before Brad Lidge even threw a single pitch tonight in San Diego. After dealing for eight innings and tallying a pitch count of 102 (78 for strikes), Roy Oswalt was pulled with a 2-1 lead in favor of the Phillies closer with a shaky track record, albeit recently successful.
Former Phillie Matt Stairs led off the bottom of the ninth with a single which was followed by a sac bunt and a routine groundout to third. With two outs, Lidge looked like he may not allow this one to get to crazy.
He then promptly walked Adrian Gonzalez and hit Ryan Ludwick on an 0-2 count to load the bases. That's when Brad Lidge balked in the tying run. Yes, the tying run in the bottom of the ninth scored on a balk. The next batter grounded out to first and this one was headed to extras.
Roy Oswalt's great start and potential win was yanked from under him by a balk.
[video: watch Lidge's ninth inning balk here]
So why did Manuel pull Oswalt after only 102 pitches and working a fantastic eighth inning? Manuel opted to go with Dom Brown to pinch hit for Roy to lead off the ninth, but with the way Brown has struggled in a pinch hitting role, it makes you wonder.
The Phillies faithful up late on Friday night questioned the move in the comments section, most believing Manuel should have stuck with Roy. What do you think after sleeping on it?
To the bullpen's credit, Ryan Madson and Chad Durbing kept this game tied and allowed Jimmy Rollins to win this one with one of the most incredible slides I've ever seen. Standing on second after a lead off double, Rollins was sent home on a gamble by Sam Perlozzo on a Polly single up the middle. J-Roll appeared nailed at the plate but made a ridiculously acrobatic slide to avoid the tag and catch the backside of home plate to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.
[video: watch Jimmy's amazing slide here]
Chad Durbin then promptly shut the door in the bottom half of the 12th and after the game said he admired Jimmy's effort.
"That was fantastic. Like a scene from The Matrix," Durbin said.
The win was most certainly not a pretty one, but the operative word is "win" as the Phillies gain a game on the Braves to move to within two games of the division rivals.