Roy Halladay pitched six strong innings, allowing just one earned run, against the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday night. And after the game, nobody even remembered that he was the starting pitcher.
Halladay exited in the top of the seventh inning when manager Charlie Manuel made what could have been a very costly decision. He chose to have pinch-hitter Ross Gload, who leads the major leagues in pinch-hits, bat for Halladay with the Phillies trailing 1-0 and runners on first and second with two outs. Gload came through with a game-tying single to left field.
In the bottom of the seventh, reliever Michael Stutes allowed the Cardinals to take a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Skip Schumaker.
And in the top of the eighth inning, the fun began for the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Tony LaRussa had pinch-hit for starting pitcher Kyle McClellan in the bottom of the seventh, so McClellan’s day (seven innings, one earned run) was finished.
It began when Shane Victorino lined a one-out single and Chase Utley worked a walk off left handed reliever Trever Miller, who was replaced by Jason Motte. Motte promptly hit both Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco with a pitch, forcing in the tying run. Polanco left the game in excruciating pain, holding his hand. He has since his x-rays on his pinky finger, which came out negative, and he expects to play today.
At this point, LaRussa replaced Motte with reliever Brian Tallet. Tallet struck out Raul Ibanez swinging, but pinch-hitter Ben Francisco gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead with a single to left field.
Enter pitcher number four, as 40-year old Miguel Batista relieved Tallet. Batista fared worse than any other Cardinals reliever. 11 of his first 12 pitches were balls, as he walked Carlos Ruiz and Michael Martinez, both scoring runs for the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins followed with a two-run single to center field, plating the Phillies with a 7-2 lead.
Maikel Cueto, the inning’s fifth pitcher, relieved Batista and walked Shane Victorino, allowed a two-run single to Chase Utley, an RBI single to Ryan Howard, and finally induced Wilson Valdez to fly to right, ending the nine-run inning.
In the inning, the Phillies had five singles, four walks, and two hit by pitches. They had 10 hits and nine walks throughout the game, becoming the first major league team since the 2005 Phillies to score 10 runs in a game without an extra base hit.
Carlos Ruiz led the hitting with four singles, raising his batting average to .256 (from .238).
And in a state of irony, Michael Stutes collected the victory, despite allowing the go-ahead run to score in the bottom of the seventh.
With the victory, the Phillies improved to 46-28, keeping them 4.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East (and five and a half games over the next closest team in the National League).
Game two of the three-game series will be tonight at 8:05, as Cliff Lee will take the mound for the Phillies.