Phillies use a strange eighth to sink Cardinals

The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins tosses his bat after drawing a walk off the St. Louis Cardinals' Kyle McClellan on Tuesday.
The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins tosses his bat after drawing a walk off the St. Louis Cardinals' Kyle McClellan on Tuesday. (JEFF ROBERSON / Associated Press)
Posted: June 22, 2011

ST. LOUIS - If you can't hit 'em, get hit by 'em.

Not even Yogi Berra would be crazy enough to say something like that, but that was a big part of the involuntary method the Phillies used Tuesday night to put together a nine-run eighth inning that triggered a 10-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Getting hits remained a challenge most of the night for the Phillies in their series opener with St. Louis, but when Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco got hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats, the game unraveled for the Cardinals and the Phillies coasted to the strange victory.

The Phillies also got good news after the game.

Polanco appeared to be in excruciating pain after being hit on the outside of the left pinkie by St. Louis reliever Jason Motte, but the X-rays were negative. Polanco said he thought he would be able to play Wednesday.

"It's a little sore, but not bad," Polanco said after the Phillies evened their record at 2-2 on this six-game road trip. "It's not broke and we scored, so I'll take it."

The Phillies had managed just five hits and a single run in s even innings against Cardinals righthander Kyle McClellan, who had been less than impressive in his two previous starts.

Trailing by 2-1 after reliever Michael Stutes surrendered a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, there was no way to know that a 43-minute half inning was about to transpire. The Phillies scored their nine runs on five hits, four walks and two hit batters. The Cardinals used five pitchers and the normally adoring Busch Stadium fan base bombarded the parade of relievers with relentless boos and mock cheers.

"We kind of waited a long time," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Any time we put together some runs it's encouraging. That's kind of the way I look at it. That was a little different, though."

Shane Victorino started the game-changing eighth with a one-out single to left field off lefty Trever Miller. After Chase Utley worked a walk, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa made the unusual decision to bring in a righthander to face Ryan Howard. Looking at the numbers, LaRussa's decision made some sense because Howard was 4 for 11 off Miller and 0 for 1 with a strikeout against righthander Jason Motte.

Instead of getting an out, Motte drilled Howard in his right arm. The pain angered Howard, but it also loaded the bases with one out.

Polanco followed with a seven-pitch at-bat that ended with the third baseman also being hit, forcing home the game's tying run. Polanco was in excruciating pain after being hit and was replaced by pinch-runner Wilson Valdez.

Motte also left having hit two men without getting an out.

Lefty Brian Tallet struck out Raul Ibanez for the second out of the inning and Manuel countered with his biggest move of the night, sending Ben Francisco up to hit for Domonic Brown, who is hitting .125 (6 for 48) in his last 14 games.

Francisco delivered an RBI single to left field, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

"It felt good to get us a lead there," Francisco said. "I was looking for a ball to hit and hit hard. I've never seen an inning with that many pitching changes. It was kind of crazy."

Miguel Batista, the man who deservedly incurred most of the fans' wrath before they headed for the exits, was the fourth St. Louis reliever of the inning.

Ten of Batista's first 11 pitches were balls as Carlos Ruiz and Michael Martinez each drew a bases-loaded walk to force in runs.

When Batista finally threw consecutive strikes to Jimmy Rollins, the crowd went crazy, but Rollins lined a two-run single and Batista became the second Cardinals pitcher to leave without recording an out.

Another walk and a two-run single by Chase Utley made it 10-2 and what looked like another dreary night for the Phillies offense had morphed into an unlikely rout.

Stutes, after surrendering a run that ended a 171/3-inning scoreless streak for the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh inning, picked up his second victory of the road trip.

Long forgotten by the end of the evening was a strong six-inning performance by Roy Halladay, who lowered his ERA to 2.51 in the no decision. Halladay allowed just one run on four hits and struck out five, but was lifted for pinch-hitter Ross Gload with runners on first and third and two outs in the top of the seventh.

Gload came through with an RBI single that tied the game. It was his first RBI since May 11 and a mere afterthought following the ugly eighth inning.


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com or @brookob on Twitter.

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