Thursday, December 18, 2014

Put another one in the Phillies' unlikely wins column

DENVER -- By the end of the long, hot evening, Shane Victorino was pointing at his mother and father as they celebrated his game-winning home run from the seats behind home plate at Coors Field.

Put another one in the Phillies' unlikely wins column

Ben Francisco, left, congratulates Shane Victorino after the Phillies´ 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
Ben Francisco, left, congratulates Shane Victorino after the Phillies' 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

DENVER -- By the end of the long, hot evening, Shane Victorino was pointing at his mother and father as they celebrated his game-winning home run from the seats behind home plate at Coors Field.

On the list of unlikely things that have happened during the Phillies' stunning run of success that started with a division title in 2007, Monday night's 4-3, 10-inning win over the Colorado Rockies ranked high.

Down two runs and down to their last strike, John Mayberry Jr. delivered a two-run, pinch-hit home run that tied the game in the top of the ninth inning to keep the game alive and Victorino followed in the 10th by bashing a 3-2 fastball from reliever Rex Brothers into the left field seats.

"It starts with Mayberry's at-bat," Victorino said. "I only got a chance to do what I did in my at-bat because Mayberry battled in that situation. Again, I give all the credit to him for coming up big in that situation and battling."

More coverage
 
Phillies rally for 4-3 win in Colorado
Photos: Phillies 4, Rockies 3
 
BoopStats: Phillies have owned ninth innings this year
 
High Cheese: Not the first crazy Phillies win in Denver
Video: Interviews with Mayberry, Oswalt and Brown
 
Sale: Get our Phillies iPad app for half price!

It was a classic eight-pitch battle between Mayberry and Rockies closer Huston Street.

After Carlos Ruiz kept the game alive with a two-out double, Mayberry hit for pitcher Michael Stutes. Street threw him eight straight sliders. With the count at 1-2, Mayberry laid off consecutive pitches to run the count full, then fought off two more sliders by hitting them foul.

On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Mayberry whipped his bat at a hanging slider and crushed it into the left-field seats. It was Mayberry's seventh home run of the season and the 13th of his career. None has been bigger.

"It feels great to be in that spot and to come up with the game-tying home run," Mayberry said. "As a bench guy, you normally get one at-bat and I tried to make the most of it. I was able to do that today."

Mayberry, a Stanford University product, had never faced Street at the big-league level, but he remembered going against him in the College World Series.

"I got a good memory," Mayberry said. "He was pretty much untouchable in those college days (at Texas). He's still very tough. I definitely knew I was in for a tough battle."

Mayberry won the battle with Street just days after losing his bid to become the right-handed bat in the middle of the order. That job, of course, went to Hunter Pence, whom the Phillies acquired at the trade deadline, but Mayberry knows he is now a valued member of manager Charlie Manuel's bench.

"I'm going to be ready for whatever situation Charlie chooses to put me in there and try to be as prepared as I can," Mayberry said.

The win over the Rockies pushed the Phillies to 30 games over .500 and a season-high seven games in front of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. The Phillies also improved to 9-2 at Coors Field since being eliminated in Game 3 of the 2007 National League Division Series here.

That run to the 2007 N.L. East title was triggered by an amazing September comeback and the Phillies have made a habit of remarkable rallies ever since. This was clearly another.

"A lot of it has to do with the makeup of our team," Manuel said. "We expect to win."

Manuel said the Phillies also are able to overcome mistakes.

One of the biggest ones Monday was made by Victorino in the third inning when he got an atrocious jump off first base and was thrown out at home on a double by Chase Utley. It appeared as if Victorino may have thought Utley had homered, but he denied that was the case.

"I was upset at myself for being out on that play, but not at any point did I think Chase's ball was out," Victorino said.

All was forgiven anyway when he homered seven innings later to account for the winning run in another unlikely Phillies victory.

 

 

 

 


Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.

Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected