Phillies beat Rockies, 8-5

Posted: July 15, 2012

DENVER - This was a tale of two intentional walks and one much-needed Phillies victory with Vance Worley in the middle of it all.

Thanks to a three-run home run from Carlos Ruiz in the first inning, two clutch moments from Worley in the middle innings and a five-out save from Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies ended a five-game losing streak Saturday night at Coors Field with an exhausting 8-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

After the Rockies had cut a four-run deficit in half with two runs in the third inning, Worley was at risk of letting the entire lead slip away in the bottom of the fifth when Marco Scutaro lined a two-out double to right-center field.

That put runners at second and third with All-Star Carlos Gonzalez stepping to the plate. No team in its right mind would let Gonzalez beat them and the signal for an intentional walk was immediately sent from the visiting dugout by manager Charlie Manuel.

Worley still had to deal with the dangerous Michael Cuddyer in order to get out of the inning and it evolved into an entertaining confrontation.

The pitcher was ready to walk off the mound after throwing a 1-2 fastball that he thought caught the plate, but home-plate umpire Paul Emmel did not agree. After Cuddyer took another pitch for a ball, Worley and Ruiz went back to the same pitch and location that they threw in the 1-2 count. This time, Cuddyer swung and missed and Worley took an energized trip off the mound.

“I think (Ruiz) did a good job of setting that pitch up,” Worley said. “I think he was looking for something off speed and we ran it right back over.”

What happened in the top of the sixth was even more fascinating.

Juan Pierre, who finished with three hits and a walk, singled to center field with two outs off Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino. After Pierre stole second, Rockies manager Jim Tracy ordered Ottavino to intentionally walk Mike Fontenot.

Worley, who entered the game hitless in 21 at-bats this season, was sent to the plate and quickly found himself in a 0-2 hole. Ottavino tried to finish him off with a 94-m.p.h. fastball, but Worley lined a two-run double past right fielder Tyler Colvin, restoring the Phillies’ four-run lead. It was Worley’s second hit of the night. The other one was an infield single that ended with the pitcher flat on his face after he tripped over the bag.

“I think I had to fall on my face to learn how to hit,” Worley said. “I don’t mind hitting here, but I don’t enjoy pitching here. It’s funky. It’s hard to breathe and you really have to make sure you get on top of the ball and direct it, otherwise it’s not going to do anything.”

Perhaps even more important than the fifth-inning strikeout of the Cuddyer and the sixth-inning double was the fact that Worley went out in the bottom of the sixth and did not allow a run.

“That’s the biggest thing is that shut down inning after you score a couple of runs,” Worley said.

Worley got two more outs in the seventh, then turned it over to Grenade Brigade, the Phillies’ hold-your-breath bullpen that can make almost any lead blow up.

Rookie Jake Diekman got the final out of the seventh and the first one of the eighth, but then hit Tyler Colvin with a pitch and walked Jordan Pacheco.

Enter Brian Sanches.

Exit baseball.

Wilin Rosario launched a 1-1 pitch for a three-run home run that cut the Phillies lead to a run.

Jonathan Papelbon was asked to record a five-out save and delivered by retiring all five batters he faced, ending the game with a strikeout of Gonzalez and a rigorous fist pump.

“You appreciate all the saves, but I think the five-out saves are the ones where your team leans on you a little bit more,” Papelbon said. “You’re the last stop along the line. I think I tend to show emotion more as the game dictates and tonight was a big win for us.”

An old lineup combination that used to be a really good one helped build the Phillies lead in the first and extend it in the ninth.

Manuel’s top four hitters for the second straight night were Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. That’s the combination the Phillies used most often from 2007 through 2009 when the team finished either first or second in the league in runs scored.

Even though Victorino’s batting average had been sinking faster than a leaking dingy, Manuel decided to keep his center fielder in the second spot.

“I want to put him there to see if we can get him going,” the manager said. “If he gets going, he can definitely help us. I look at it, with Howard and Utley back, it’s the lineup we used to have and it was productive. And now that Ruiz hits and we’ve got (Hunter) Pence, if we get guys going, we can have a good lineup.”

Victorino, hitting .107 (3-for-28) this month as he stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning and without an extra-base hit in 98 plate appearances dating to June 13, got things going with a one-out double to right-center field.

Utley followed with a single to left field to put the Phillies up 1-0. After Howard drew a walk, Ruiz launched his 14th home run of the season into the center-field evergreen trees.

Rollins doubled and scored on a triple by Victorino with one out in the ninth and Utley made it 8-5 with his third hit of the night, an RBI single off lefty Rex Brothers.

“(That lineup) definitely brings back those good times,” Victorino said.

For one night, at least, the Phillies had a good time again.

Contact Bob Brookover at or @brookob on Twitter.


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