That's right. The 12th inning. That's when Brian Schneider - whose failure to keep a two-out, third strike in front of him allowed the Reds to tie the game in the eighth - ended it with a bomb into the rightfield seats.
"I owed Madson that," the Phillies catcher said. "I let that ball get by me. And there's no excuse for it."
Phillies 4, Reds 3. The Phillies won a game last night that featured a series of plays that fans alive for 5 decades or more may have never seen before.
And may never want to see again.
They took a one-run lead in the third inning on a play that featured Reds first baseman Joey Votto fielding the same batted ball not once, not twice, but three times - and still not recording an out.
More on that later.
They lost that lead in the eighth inning when Madson struck out Brandon Phillips with two outs and two on with a pitch so nasty that it ricocheted wildly beneath Schneider high off the backstop.
So high that Schneider could not locate it.
This brought Madson scurrying from the mound, crossing into foul territory at about the same time Schneider sighted the ball. Both men pursued it, leaving home plate unguarded and well, you can guess what happened next.
Drew Stubbs came all the way around from second base to score on what should have been the third out of the inning. "He was hoping that I would stay home and I didn't," said Schneider.
The fireworks crowd of 45,086 booed lustily. The game also included a doubleplay that occurred after Jayson Werth safely returned to first on Greg Dobbs' soft liner to second then casually and inexplicably stepped off. Werth unsuccessfully argued to first base umpire Laz Diaz that he was blocked or bumped off.
Later in the 12th inning Werth made a great catch against the rightfield wall, then missed out on another great catch when one of his own fans reached out and snagged a foul ball before it landed in his glove.
But back to the Votto play, coming to your town's rain-delay Jumbotron in the not-so-distant future.
On the day he took considerable heat for honestly assessing his and his team's frustrations, Shane Victorino continued to show signs he was emerging from his 2-month funk. For the second day in a row, he homered, this time in his first at-bat. In his next at-bat in the third inning, with Jimmy Rollins breaking for second, Victorino ripped a low liner that Votto got the tip of his glove on, deflecting the ball into foul territory along the first-base side.
Retrieving the ball, Votto's toss reached Cueto just as Victorino did, and both ball and glove went flying. Victorino took a wide turn toward second and would have been dead meat if the Reds pitcher still had his glove on.
Instead, the ball again deflected away. This time both Votto and Cueto arrived at the ball simultaneously. Votto's knee inadvertently incapacitated Cueto - but only after he picked the ball up and threw home, too late to get Rollins, who scored to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
"I've never seen that before," Schneider said. "But crazier things have happened."
Behind the outstanding pitching of Kendrick, they held that lead until that goofy eighth inning, then quickly regained it when Wilson Valdez tripled and Rollins scored him on a sacrifice fly. Lidge made a mess of the ninth however, surrendering a run-scoring double to Miguel Cairo moments after inducing a doubleplay grounder from Jay Bruce.
Will it ignite them? We've carried this hope before. They were 8-3 from June 16 through the 27th before these Reds took two of three from them and the Pirates won three of four. They are 4-7 since.
"Right now it doesn't matter what we're coming off of," Schneider said. "We need any win right now."
You want a silver lining? Try this one out:
The Phillies will have to win more games like the one last night if they want reach the postseason again. They do that, they won't enter October flat.
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