Feliz's homer happiness short-lived

Feliz's homer happiness short-lived

PHILADELPHIA -- For a moment, it appeared Pedro Feliz had cast himself as one of those unlikely heroes that often appears in the Fall Classic.

But as the fans of Philadelphia were still celebrating Feliz's clutch eighth-inning homer, the veteran third baseman found himself involved in a wacky ninth-inning play that led to the Phillies' doom during their 7-4 loss to the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night.

Instead of exiting this game excited about a three-hit performance that was highlighted with the two-out, eighth-inning homer he'd hit off Joba Chamberlain, Feliz found himself answering more questions about how Johnny Damon had managed to steal both second and third base on just one pitch in the ninth inning.

"I did it, I was happy at the moment," Feliz said in reference to his home run. "Right now, I'm disappointed about the loss, but we've just got to come back tomorrow strong."

When Feliz drilled Chamberlain's 3-2 fastball into the left-field seats, there was reason to wonder if this would be yet another of those nights that the Phillies staged a comeback victory. But this game-tying blast became a sidelight after Damon sparked the ninth-inning outburst against Brad Lidge with his heads-up baserunning.

With a defensive shift employed against Mark Teixeira, who was batting from the left side of the plate against Lidge, Feliz was shifted away from his normal positioning at third base. Thus when Damon took off from first base, the veteran third baseman assumed his responsibility of covering second base.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Damon quickly realized that neither Lidge or catcher Carlos Ruiz had reacted to the fact that nobody was guarding third base. This allowed the veteran outfielder to complete his slide into second base and then run toward third base as Feliz first had to pick Ruiz's throw out of the dirt.

Pedro Feliz broke out of his 2009 postseason slump with three hits in Game 4, including a solo homer and RBI single. How Feliz has fared in his two postseasons with the Phillies:
2008 DS MIL 13 3 .231 0 1 1
2008 LCS LAD 13 2 .154 0 1 2
2008 WS TB 18 6 .333 0 2 3
2009 DS COL 14 3 .214 0 0 3
2009 LCS LAD 17 3 .118 1 2 4
2009 WS NYY 15 4 .267 1 2 3

"We had done it against somebody else before," Feliz said when he was asked if he was surprised Damon darted toward third base. "That's a play if you have a runner that is prepared for that and they see nobody on the other side, they are going to go."

Damon's risky move proved beneficial when two batters later, Alex Rodriguez drilled an RBI double that gave the Yankees the lead they wouldn't relinquish against the Phillies, who now need to win each of the final three games of the Series to defend their title.

"It's not over yet," Feliz said. "We've just got to take it one game at a time."

Now the Phillies can only hope that the Yankees feel the abrupt change of emotions that the Phillies encountered after celebrating Feliz's surprise shot during what was his first career plate appearance against Chamberlain.

Feliz's three-hit performance, which also included a game-tying, two-out single in the fourth inning, proved surprising given the fact that he entered the game with just six hits in his previous 42 at-bats this postseason.

"I don't want it for me, I want it for the team," Feliz said. "We didn't come out with the 'W,' so I don't see it as being good right now, just because of the loss."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.