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Phillies survive ninth-inning balk by Brad Lidge, win in extras

Aug 28, 2010, 8:47 AM EDT

Funny that I mentioned Jerry Hairston Jr. again before this entry, because he figured quite prominently in one of the key plays of last night’s eventual 3-2 loss to the Phillies in 12 innings.

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs led off the ninth with a single and was quickly replaced by the aforementioned Hairston. David Eckstein followed with a sacrifice bunt and Miguel Tejada grounded out to third base for the first two outs of the inning. With first base open, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel then wisely chose to intentionally walk Adrian Gonzalez, however Lidge subsequently hit Ryan Ludwick to load the bases. Then, inexplicably, with Lidge ahead 2-2 on Chase Headley, Lidge balked to force in Hairston from third base, tying the game at 2-2 and ultimately sending the game into extra innings. I have to be honest, sometimes I see balks called and I can’t see a darn thing. This one was pretty blatantly obvious.

There was nothing doing on either side until the top of the 12th inning. Jimmy Rollins led off the inning with a double off Ernesto Frieri and came around to score on a single by Placido Polanco. It was actually a very strong throw by center fielder Luis Durango, but as you’ll see on the picture to your right, it took a fantastic slide by Rollins to beat it out.

Chad Durbin retired the Padres 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 12th to end this one. The thrilling win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Phillies and pulled them to within two games of the reeling Braves in the National League East. Fortunately for the Padres, the Giants also lost Friday, so they stay six games in front in the National League West.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even touch on the excellent outings by Roy Oswalt and Mat Latos, but this one had the legitimate feel of a playoff game. I wouldn’t mind if these two teams met up again in October.   

  1. Old Gator - Aug 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    I only caught the last three innings of this game so I can’t comment on what preceded it, but it was a beaut – though I must admit, even when taking into effect the deleterious effects of horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches on stamina and clarity, I’ve been surprised by the way the Feelies have gone limp in the past week or so – especially while the Bravos have been flat as an aquatic insect larva in the friction layer at the same time.
    .
    Well, last night the Feesh contributed to the Tazerette’s cause by skwishing the Bravos with a dinger barrage that would have made Eisenhower look behind himself on 6/6/44. Okay, they’re not the Feather Lice, but still, it was impressive, and Chris Volstad pitched easily his best game of the season. On the other hand, no sooner were the Feesh back in the clubhouse than a few of them were making noises about how they haven’t given up on a playoff run. Well, that’s good to hear. Why should I be the only one who hears voices and hallucinates wildly?

  2. Utley's hair - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    I admit that I have yet to see this “balk,” but I find it interesting how a pitcher who allows an extra base to just about every singleton he allows to roam the bases due to his utter lack of a pickoff move would even feign to keep runners near their respective bags–ESPECIALLY with those bags juiced with Friars.

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