The Phillies lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-5, in a 10-inning scrum featuring six doubles, two home runs and all kinds of balls hit smack on the nose. But then came the end, and two Phillies had their bats perched smack on their shoulders.
After Benito Santiago cracked a one-out, RBI double against hard-throwing rookie reliever Marcus Moore to move the Phillies within 6-5, and leftfield replacement Lee Tinsley drew a four-pitch walk, Fregosi stirred the maybe-3,000 diehards remaining from a crowd of 17,318 by allowing Pete Incaviglia to pinch-hit for Kevin Stocker.
The count went to 3-2 and . . . strike three called.
That brought up backup first baseman Kevin Jordan, whose solo homer, his second in two nights off the bench, had created a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning.
The count went to 2-2 and . . . strike three called.
``It was close,'' Jordan said of the borderline pitch. ``Benito told me it was too close to take'' from his vantage point off second base.
``Moore was all over the place,'' Fregosi said, ``then made good pitches when he had to.''
Though the game was entertaining and even encouraging from the Phillies' standpoint in light of their comeback from a 4-1 deficit after 5 1/2 innings, it took something of a back seat overall on the list of the day's developments.
Remember how first baseman Gregg Jefferies, who injured his left thumb in a triple-concluding, headfirst slide Thursday night against Colorado, was going to miss only two months' worth of action? Well, now he could be out for as long as three.
Remember how the more-hobbled-than-ever ex-catcher, Darren Daulton, would be the leftfielder forever and ever, amen? Well, the idea he might move to first base while Jefferies is sidelined refuses to die, even though Gene Schall, a La Salle High and Villanova product, has been recalled from Triple A Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre and will apparently be given a full shot to play until Jefferies returns.
In his pregame media briefing, Fregosi became noticeably perturbed the instant the subject of Daulton and first base was broached.
He repeated comments he'd made during spring training about first base being harder to play than leftfield, and about how Daulton would not be up to it physically.
``He's doing fine in leftfield,'' he said. ``Let's stop all the bullbleep about moving him somewhere else. Maybe you guys in the media want to move him someplace else, but that's not your decision. That's my decision.''
Someone mentioned about Daulton indicating long ago that first base would probably be his best fit.
``Then, why don't we let Dutch manage the club?'' Fregosi flared. ``Or let you guys manage the club . . . You guys bring this up every bleeping two minutes. I said [Thursday night] that there was no idea in my mind about him playing first base and the first thing you do is bring it up.''
It was brought up, Fregosi was told, because the lineup board in the clubhouse had been altered to show Daulton as the first baseman and Schall as the leftfielder. Obviously, someone thought about Daulton playing first base.
``Oh, well, now you guys and the players are going to run the bleeping club?'' Fregosi said.
Daulton would not admit with words to having pulled the prank, but if beaming smiles could talk . . .
When Daulton was asked whether he would suggest or request a switch to first base, he responded, ``I might pitch one game.''
``I'm an employee here,'' he added. ``I'll do what's best for the club.''
Unlike Fregosi, Daulton was in the mood to have some fun with the situation.
``I'm a Gold Glove leftfielder,'' he said. ``It would be hard to move a Gold Glove leftfielder to first base. I haven't been too bad out there. I even got a standing ovation [Opening Night].''
Meanwhile, in another part of Fregosi's pregame media session, someone mentioned that, according to several players, Jefferies had also broken a finger on his right hand in Thursday night's sliding mishap.
``I have not heard that,'' Fregosi said. ``That's a nice rumor.''
Make that a fact. Dr. Phillip Marone reported Jefferies indeed broke his right pinkie just above the knuckle, an injury that, by itself, would have sidelined Jefferies three weeks.
Marone also said the torn ulnar collateral ligament in Jefferies's left thumb was repaired at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital by Dr. Randall Culp. Marone said Jefferies would be in a cast for four weeks and an orthotic device for another two.
``I'd say we're looking at somewhere between two to three months before he will be ready to return,'' Marone said.
The thought Thursday night had been two months, tops.
``He was pretty upset,'' Marone said, smiling. ``If I'd told him three then, he probably would have hung himself.''
Back to the game.
Righthander Mike Williams pitched the first six innings, allowing six hits and three walks. He was nicked by Hal Morris for a looping, two-run double in the third inning and victimized by RBI hits by Eric Davis (double) and Joe Oliver (single) in the sixth.
The Phillies got one in the sixth on Todd Zeile's RBI double and one in the seventh on a wild pitch by Tim Pugh, the second of four Reds pitchers. Then, leading off the ninth, Jordan launched Jeff Shaw's knee-high, full-count fastball over the wall in left-center.
``I don't know the last time I hit homers two days in a row, especially off the bench,'' said Jordan, who has 53 homers in seven pro seasons. ``I can hit them, but I'm not a home run hitter. I was trying to hit the ball hard. I got it up in the air and it carried out.''
In the 10th, Toby Borland began his second inning of pitching. After scrambling out of the way of a high-and-tight fastball, Barry Larkin torched Borland with a smashing homer to left. Lefthander Dave Leiper replaced Borland and surrendered another run on a pinch-single by Eric Owens.
``It was a heckuva game,'' Fregosi said. ``We battled back. We had some opportunities to win it, but we didn't get it done.''