DENVER -- Ryan Howard had a huge game offensively Sunday at Coors Field, but with a two-run lead Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg had John Mayberry Jr. replace him at first base in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Mayberry made an incredible pick on a throw from Freddy Galvis in the bottom of the ninth inning with two runners on and two outs to end the game and give the Phillies a 10-9 victory.
"Hell of play by Mayberry," Sandberg said. "That was a hell of a pick in that situation."
Sandberg said he had defense in mind when he made the double switch in the eighth, having Mayberry take Ben Revere's spot in the lineup and left-hander Antonio Bastardo taking Howard's spot. Howard has struggled at first base this season. He has two errors, but has left at least a couple other catchable balls get past him, including one in Saturday's 3-1 loss.
It is the second time Sandberg had Mayberry replace Howard at first base. It first happened in the ninth inning April 13 in a 4-3 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Mayberry had pinch-run for Howard in the eighth, but remained in the game.
"Possibly," said Sandberg, asked if he might continue to use Mayberry late in games as a defensive replacement at first base. "And just the fact that Mayberry is a little more athletic. But once again that was a heck of a pick. A lot of guys might score if that gets by him."
Howard said he didn't see those moves as ones for defensive purposes.
"I'm not disappointed at all," said Howard, who went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. "What happened was, it was the play for the game. Bringing in the pitcher and having him go in the four hole, you bring in Mayberry to make that swap. I wasn't mad at that. That's just the flow of the game as it is."
And the fact it has happened twice in eight days?
"I don't have any concerns," he said. "It's more so a part of the flow of the game. I've come out before because I've been pinch-run for. I don't think it's a defensive thing. It's in the flow of the game. Now if I'm out there and they say, 'Hey, Ryan, come in,' then that's a defensive change. Those two times have been in the flow of the game."