Phils handle tarp and Rockies

Posted: July 08, 2007

DENVER - The Phillies stormed the field like a MASH unit this afternoon at Coors Field. They had people to save.

The Phillies, who haven't been able to protect themselves from injuries this season, helped members of the grounds crew trapped underneath the tarp during a rain delay in an 8-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Not only did the Phillies help them, they helped themselves. They entered the all-star break with a victory after a rough three weeks and returned to .500 at 44-44, 41/2 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.

The Phillies were 40-47 and 12 games behind the Mets at the break last season.

"They were having fun," manager Charlie Manuel said. "They were out in the rain like little kids. Sometimes things like that definitely get you to relax and enjoy things, and it carries right into the game. This game is about being totally relaxed and having fun."

The sky opened before the top of the seventh inning, and the grounds crew dashed onto the field to pull the tarp over the infield.

As the crew tried to pull the tarp from the left side of the infield toward the first-base line, a forceful gust of wind rolled the tarp over and three or four workers were buried. The tarp dragged head groundskeeper Mark Razum, who was holding a corner near third base, like a cowboy being tossed around by a bucking bronco.

That's when the Phillies came to the rescue. (Insert dramatic music here.)

Most of the players grabbed one side of the tarp and pulled, freeing the trapped men and steadying the tarp so sandbags could be dropped into position to anchor it. Even the umpires helped out.

"Thirty-two years and I've never touched a tarp in my whole life," Razum said umpire John Hirschbeck yelled.

"That was the worst ever," Razum said. "The wind was so strong, we just couldn't hold it. And then the way it draped over on the guys. . . . So you're kind of worried that somebody might suffocate or something like that. It was cool the Phillies came out and gave us a hand. It was pretty overwhelming to see the actual guys that were actually playing. Maybe a bench guy, but it was the lineup out there. That was pretty cool."

Shane Victorino grabbed the corner that had dragged Razum, dug in his heels, and pulled the tarp into place.

"We thought guys might get hurt, so we went out there," Victorino said. "It was funny, I guess, to see us go out there and act like we knew what we were doing."

As the team steadied the tarp, Razum said he could hear Phillies bench coach Jimy Williams asking, "Where are the sandbags? Where are the sandbags?"

They were on the way.

Michael Bourn and Abraham Nuñez tossed a few into place. Everything finally was under control.

The Phillies received an ovation as they returned to the visitors' clubhouse, completely drenched. Pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was the only Rockies player to make it onto the field.

There were no reported injuries.

But the Phillies still had a game to win. They were up, 5-4, when the rain came. But when play resumed, Victorino hit a two-run home run to left field to make it 7-4.

The Phillies added another run in the ninth. Ryan Madson threw three scoreless innings to pick up a save.

So the franchise's 10,000th loss will have to wait.

The Phillies will open the second half of the season at home Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton will face the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park. Jamie Moyer presumably would open the series in Los Angeles on July 16.

And July 17? Who will start then? J.D. Durbin? Another minor-leaguer? Someone from a trade?

The Phillies need to do something.

"We've got to get our team right," Manuel said. "We've got to get healthy. We've got to get going. It took us a long time to get over .500. We were playing pretty good, and then we hit a bump in the road. But once we get our players back, and we get 100 percent healthy, and we can add a couple pitchers, we're going to be OK."

Manuel paused.

"Outside of that, we're going to be all right."


Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/zozone.

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