Phillies manager Charlie Manuel pulled the reliever in the ninth inning Tuesday in Washington, giving the ball to Ryan Madson to close the game. Manuel said Wednesday that he would pitch Lidge in low-stress situations until he got his groove back, which held true as Madson was called upon for the team's next three save opportunities.
But with Madson and Brett Myers unavailable in Game 1 of a doubleheader Sunday against the Mets because they have pitched extensively in recent days, Manuel called on Lidge to pick up the save. Lidge allowed two runs, but held on in the 5-4 victory.
A save is a save at this point.
"I'm not going to win the ERA title this year," Lidge said with a laugh. "Maybe next year.
"I actually felt real good. I had a lot more control today. In the end, it wasn't the fastest of saves, but we obviously got it done and I'm really happy about the result. I felt I was able to do some things out of the stretch that I wasn't able to do in a while in terms of control, so that really helped me out. Overall, I feel like it was a really good outing for me."
There is no sugarcoating Lidge's season. He is 0-7 with a 7.18 ERA and 29 saves in 39 opportunities. But despite his struggles, Phillies fans gave him a standing ovation as he jogged onto the field with a three-run lead in the ninth inning.
"The fans are amazing," Lidge said. "The fans have been unbelievable obviously through a bad season for me. I think that's an extraordinary thing. It definitely helps me. It's great when you're getting applause coming into the game. Everybody on the team will tell you that. When you get the fans behind you, it makes things a lot easier. Getting two strikes on a hitter and the fans stand up like they do, it's an awesome feeling out there."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.