Phillies Beaten Despite Rallying Chad Ogea Was Shaky On The Mound, And Scott Rolen Was Frustrated At The Plate, Fanning Five Times.

Posted: August 24, 1999

The crowd at Veterans Stadium was unusually spirited last night, thanks to 1,600 members of Villanova's incoming freshman class who attended the game as part of their orientation program.

From the moment they entered the ballpark, those wacky college kids shouted, cheered and clapped. Everybody was happy, happy, happy - until the fourth inning, when Chad Ogea turned all those cheers to boos.

Ogea dampened the party atmosphere with arguably his worst outing in a Phillies uniform.

Scott Rolen didn't help by striking out five times as the Phillies were beaten by the theretofore slumping San Diego Padres, 7-6.

San Diego had lost nine straight road games before sinking its teeth into Ogea's flaccid pitches.

Rolen's fourth strikeout came with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and the Phillies trailing by three runs. His fifth came with the bases empty and the Phils down by a run in the ninth.

The five strikeouts tied a major-league record for one player in a nine-inning game. Dick Allen, in 1964, was the only other Phillie to strike out five times in a nine-inning game. Darren Daulton struck out five times in a 1991 game, but that one went 13 innings.

Even after his darkest night as a major-leaguer, Rolen retained his sense of humor.

"I told [Curt Schilling] and [Kevin Jordan] that I prided myself on never striking out four times in a game," Rolen said.

He paused for effect.

"I still haven't."

Ogea, the National League leader in home runs served, didn't give up any long balls, but he did give up plenty of hard-hit ones in falling to 6-12.

Ogea left the game trailing by 6-1 after allowing five runs in the top of the fourth on five hits and two walks.

The killer blow was a two-run double by opposing pitcher Woody Williams. Ogea had Williams 0-2, then hung a soft curveball that Williams bashed into the left-field corner.

Williams, who struck out 12, held the Phils to one run - a homer by Rob Ducey - in six innings. After he left, the Phils staged one of their typical late-game comebacks by rallying for five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Alex Arias' three-run homer in the eighth pulled the Phils to within a run before Trevor Hoffman, the Padres' bullpen ace, got the final five outs for his 32d save.

Phils reliever Scott Aldred, who before Sunday had pitched in four straight games, allowed a costly run in the top of the eighth. Reggie Sanders doubled home pinch-runner Eric Owens from first base one batter after the Phils had failed to double up Tony Gwynn. Umpire Eric Gregg ruled Gwynn safe on a close play at first.

Ultimately, though, Gregg's call and Sanders' double weren't the reasons the Phils lost for the 11th time in 15 games. The hole that Ogea dug for his team was just too deep.

"I started off good, throwing strikes," Ogea said. "It seemed like, after that, they hit everything I threw."

Ogea pitched just 32/3 innings, but in that time, he managed to give up 10 hits, four of which were doubles.

After Williams (7-11) left the game, the Phils' never-quit offense rallied for two runs in the seventh, cutting the Padres' lead to 6-3 on Mike Lieberthal's solo homer and Ron Gant's RBI double. The rally short-fused when Donne Wall struck out Rolen on three pitches with the bases loaded.

Rolen is just 7 for 43 (.167) with the bases loaded in his career. He has struck out 110 times this season. He has been playing for a month with a bad back. With the Phils out of the wild-card race, is it time that he went on the disabled list to rest his back?

"No," he said. "I'm going to play. I'm starting to feel better."

Phils manager Terry Francona also scoffed at the idea of Rolen taking time off.

"I think we just have to chalk this up to a tough night," he said.

Rolen struck out looking twice. He did not appear to agree with umpire Phil Cuzzi's strike zone. Neither did bench coach Chuck Cottier, who was ejected shortly after Rolen struck out to end the sixth inning.

Rolen would not comment on Cuzzi's strike zone.

"That's like ripping someone's mother," he said. "You just don't do it."

Francona said: "I should have known it was going to be a tough night when [Cuzzi] called me Tony. We try to give the umpires a lot of respect. But it does have to be a two-way street."

Lieberthal's homer was his 26th, tying him for the team lead with Rolen, who has just two since July 19.

|
|
|
|
|