Phillies rally to defeat Rockies

Kevin Frandsen avoids a tag by the Rockies' Yorvit Torrealba to score on a double by John Mayberry Jr.
Kevin Frandsen avoids a tag by the Rockies' Yorvit Torrealba to score on a double by John Mayberry Jr. (      Getty Images)
Posted: June 16, 2013

DENVER — There was a time, last November, when the Phillies envisioned Wilton Lopez as their setup reliever. They agreed to a trade with Houston for the 29-year-old Nicaraguan and flew Lopez to Philadelphia for a physical examination. That is when the deal disintegrated, and the Phils can be grateful for at least that.

No reliever in baseball has permitted more hits than Lopez, who pitched when the Phillies orchestrated a five-run comeback in a classic Coors Field night. They won, 8-7, bolstered by an opportunistic offense and resolute bullpen. The largest deficit overcome before Friday by these Phillies was two runs.

The heroes were found in every corner of the clubhouse. Freddy Galvis twice tripled and drove in four runs. Kevin Frandsen and John Mayberry Jr. each scored two runs. Third-string catcher Humberto Quintero chipped in two RBIs. Jimmy Rollins, pinch-hitting with an injured hip, slashed a run-scoring single to left for the go-ahead hit.

The bullpen, whose ERA ranked 28th in the majors, tossed 42/3 scoreless innings. That is an incredible feat on any night. But when it happened at Coors Field and amid the ineptitude of this Phillies bullpen, it was unthinkable.

"That's what baseball is about," Charlie Manuel said. "You never know until you play the game."

Afterward, the manager played coy. He expressed optimism about his team's performance before revealing he spoke to his hitters in the underground batting cage before the win. They talked about base running, performing with two outs, and goals for the next 95 games.

"Don't make a whole lot out of it," Manuel said. "I thought it was good."

When asked what was discussed, Galvis said, "Hitting."

There was no such chat with the bullpen. Jeremy Horst stranded runners by rolling a double-play ball. Mike Stutes pitched a scoreless sixth. Jake Diekman, recalled a day earlier, recorded two key outs. Justin De Fratus stranded a man on third. Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon, both pitching for the second straight day, sealed the victory.

The Phillies scored three times in the sixth and three in the seventh. They sent eight men to the plate in the decisive seventh. Lopez faced five; four reached base. Galvis delivered triples in each inning. He became the first Phillies player in more than three years with two triples in a game.

Two weeks after the Lopez trade collapsed, the Phillies signed Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal. He too is beset by ineffectiveness, although his last two outings breed optimism.

In front of Adams, the relief corps is muddled. The Phillies summoned Diekman, who possessed a 5.70 ERA at triple-A Lehigh Valley, as an extra reliever. Diekman's father drove eight hours from the family's home in Nebraska to see his son.

"The mind-set I'm taking," Diekman said, "is it's like a three-day tryout."

He was inserted into the seventh inning and asked to protect a newly minted lead. His assignment was the heart of Colorado's order — Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer, and Todd Helton. Gonzalez singled to left on the first pitch. Cuddyer and Helton both tapped weak grounders. De Fratus took the ball and retired Nolan Arenado on a comebacker.

Few pitchers are immune to the perils of this ballpark. Again and again, Phils starter Kyle Kendrick stood motionless and gazed. He watched the balls fly through the mile-high air. His outfielders ran track meets in the vast land of Coors Field.

The Rockies, playing their first of many games without Troy Tulowitzki, the franchise cornerstone who broke a rib Thursday, were relentless against Kendrick.

Once it ended for Kendrick, the fans in attendance waved black T-shirts with "We Want Tacos!" emblazoned on them. They were guaranteed that perk with the seventh Rockies run of the night. Finally, Manuel yanked his pitcher.

The seven runs permitted by Kendrick were his most in 14 months over a span of 46 games (38 starts). His ERA jumped from 3.22 to 3.76. Gonzalez smashed his 19th home run, which tied him with Domonic Brown for the league lead, in the first inning. It was downhill from there.

"It wasn't my night," Kendrick said.

When the bullpen door opened, the Phillies' fate, for once, twisted favorably.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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