Phillies Notes: Late defensive moves pay off for Sandberg

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley calls for a review of a play as the Rockies' pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson looks on from second base in the sixth inning. (David Zalubowski/AP)
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley calls for a review of a play as the Rockies' pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson looks on from second base in the sixth inning. (David Zalubowski/AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: April 22, 2014

DENVER - The Phillies led by two runs Sunday when the bottom of the eighth inning started, and Ryne Sandberg ordered his best defensive lineup onto the field. Tony Gwynn Jr., who pinch-hit in the top half, stayed in center field. Freddy Galvis was already inserted in the sixth at third base.

And John Mayberry Jr. replaced Ryan Howard at first.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon put the winning runs on base in the ninth. Charlie Blackmon chopped one toward Galvis, who misfired to first. Mayberry scooped the errant throw and held his right foot on the base to end the game.

"That was a hell of a pick in that situation," Sandberg said.

The Phillies stormed the field, thinking they had won, 10-9, but Rockies manager Walt Weiss wanted umpires to take a second look at the final play. A 32-second replay confirmed the 27th out.

"I had a pretty good feeling," Mayberry said. "I was pretty sure, but until you see the replay it's not official."

Sandberg's defensive substitutions paid dividends. It marked the second time this season he removed Howard for a late-inning defensive upgrade. The manager said that could "possibly" continue.

"Just for the fact that Mayberry is a little more athletic," Sandberg said.

Howard, who has displayed fielding deficiencies in the first three weeks, said he did not harbor concerns about increased future substitutions. He did not believe Sunday's move was done for defensive reasons.

"I'm not disappointed at all," Howard said. "What happened was, it was the play for the game. Bringing in the pitcher and having him go in the four hole, you bring in Mayberry to make that swap. I wasn't mad at that. That's just the flow of the game as it is."

Replay repeat

Umpires used replay three times Sunday. Sandberg won a key challenge in the sixth on a play at second base. With a runner on third, Corey Dickerson smashed one to shortstop. A drawn-in Jimmy Rollins made a diving stop. The Phillies caught Jordan Pacheco between third and home and tagged him out.

Galvis fired to second to catch Dickerson, but he beat the throw. Chase Utley, though, kept his glove on Dickerson's leg when the runner's foot left the bag for a brief moment. Utley immediately yelled to the dugout.

Sandberg walked by Utley, who told him, "100 percent." A 1-minute, 24-second review confirmed the second baseman's notion. Sandberg is 3 for 4 on challenges in 2014.

Extra bases

Galvis hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to center in the sixth inning. It was the team's first sacrifice fly of 2014; the Phillies were the last major-league team to notch one. They added two more later in Sunday's game.


mgelb@phillynews.com

@magelb www.inquirer.com/

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