Jun 21, 2012, 3:08 AM EDT
It was nothing you haven’t seen before. Locked in a tight contest from the first pitch, the Phillies failed to come up with a clutch hit before surrendering the go-ahead run late. Usually that’s game over.
Not on Wednesday night. Not against the pitiful Rockies, who decided to wait until the final out before completely falling apart. Down one in the bottom of the ninth, the Fightins staged a two-out rally against closer Rafael Betancourt, who picked up his third blown save of the season — with an assist from stalwart first baseman Todd Helton.
Ty Wigginton initially kept the game alive with a single, setting up Hunter Pence for what may have been the swing of the season. Pence unloaded on a 1-1 pitch that got up in the zone, sending a rope to the the left field corner that nearly burrowed a hole in the wall. Wigginton happened to be running on the play, and was able to make it home standing up to knot the score.
With Pence on second, Carlos Ruiz was walked intentionally, bringing Shane Victorino to the plate. His slow roller to short appeared to be the end of the inning on first glance, which would have sent them to extras, but the Flyin’ Hawaiian beat Marco Scutaro’s throw to load the bases.
The final at bat would look eerily similar. Placido Polanco sent another weak ground ball to Scutaro, only he lacks Vic’s speed down the base line. Polly busted it anyway, and wound up beating the throw by a foot — Helton’s.
A starter at first base for 15 years with Colorado, Helton somehow got lost at the bag. He wasn’t touching when the ball arrived in his glove, and before he could drag his foot the remaining inches or centimeters for the out, Polanco came charging through, stepping on Helton’s toes as his own beat the force.
7-6, Philadelphia. Helton was charged with an error on the play.
This was typical 2012 Phillies: some good, a lot of ugly. They lived to tell about another Joe Blanton outing — five runs over seven, including three more homers. Michael Martinez, slugging all of .172 entering the night, provided the power with a three-run blast. Converted reliever Jeremy Guthrie held the Phils to three frames of scoreless baseball, while Jonathan Papelbon was nearly dealt his third loss of the season.
Once again though, winning is winning. They don’t count for any less because the Rockies are terrible.
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