Where's the thrill?
So the Phillies continue to wait until the late innings to score their runs and win their games. On Saturday night, they beat the Marlins in 10 innings, 6-4, after scoring a run in the top of the ninth to tie it. The victory came one night after Philadelphia scored seven runs in the ninth inning to beat Florida, 7-3.
The Phillies are 8-8 this season. All eight victories have been comeback wins.
"It's a long season, and all these games are a test," said Ryan Howard, who homered in the fourth inning. "To be able to come back from being behind this early in the season, you're just going through different situations. It all comes down to what happens in September, but in April right now, coming back to win these games is part of the test."
The Phillies, who have scored a Major League-leading 40 runs in the seventh inning or later this season, trailed, 4-3, entering the ninth. Marlins right-hander Leo Nunez walked Jayson Werth to start the inning, and Raul Ibanez singled to right to put runners on the corners. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs struck out. Charlie Manuel then sent Matt Stairs to the plate to pinch-hit for Lou Marson. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez countered by bringing left-hander Renyel Pinto into the game.
Manuel continued the chess match. He sent Eric Bruntlett, a career. 271 hitter against left-handers, into the game to replace Stairs, a career .239 hitter against southpaws.
Pinto threw a wild pitch to allow Ibanez to move to second, taking the game-ending double play out of the equation. Bruntlett then hit a chopper up the third-base line. Third baseman Emilio Bonifacio had no play at the plate as Werth scored to tie the game, 4-4.
Shane Victorino, who hit a grand slam in Friday's victory, hit a one-out single and stole second base in the 10th inning. Chase Utley followed and hit a rocket up the middle. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez tried to get a glove on the ball as it took a hop just in front of him, but the ball could have knocked the glove off Ramirez's hand it had been hit so hard.
As the ball scooted into the outfield, Victorino scored to take the lead. The Phillies tacked on another run to give closer Brad Lidge a little breathing room.
He needed it, too. Lidge loaded the bases before striking out Cody Ross to end the game.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle, Phillies right-hander Chan Ho Park pitched pretty well -- except for the third inning, when he allowed a three-run homer to Jorge Cantu and a solo homer to Dan Uggla. Park allowed five hits and four runs in seven innings.
But Park retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and 12 of his final 14 batters.
"He gave us an opportunity to keep us in the game," Victorino said.
Oh, yeah, Park also homered in the third inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
"Chan Ho not only knocked one out, he went oppo," Howard said, referring to Park's opposite-field home run. "That's pretty impressive. I don't think we'll hear the end of that one for a little while. He was out there helping the cause. He did a great job tonight."
"Lucky," Park joked, although he pointed out his three career home runs have been to the opposite field.
And who knows? Maybe Sunday the Phillies can take an early lead, hold on and relax a little bit.
"It doesn't matter to me as long as we come out on top," Howard said. "You'd like to be in front and hold onto it, but we've given ourselves opportunities to win some games, and that's all you can really ask for.
"But if it happens again tomorrow, hopefully we can pull it off again tomorrow."