PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies found a unique way to lose, 4-3, Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, and the Brewers could not have been happier about it.
Phillies right-hander Ken Giles had not allowed a run since May 30, striking out 18 in 12 scoreless innings, when Carlos Gomez stepped into the batter's box with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth inning. The Phillies had a one-run lead, but a series of missteps turned a win into an improbable loss.
"It's a win you feel like you kind of snatched from them a little bit," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
That is because the comeback started with Giles appearing to strike out Gomez swinging on an inning-ending 0-2 pitch. Except … wait a minute.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz called time before the pitch, which meant the strikeout never happened. Gomez had a second life and he took advantage. He fouled off the next pitch before singling to left field to put runners on first and second.
"I don't know if I heard 'timeout' or 'balk,' so that's the reason that I swung. I didn't lose anything," Gomez said. "If it's a timeout, it's a free swing. If it's a balk, maybe I put on contact. The big thing is we won the game."
Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said Ruiz called time because he was concerned about Ryan Braun at first base.
"Part of holding a runner is varying your delivery to the plate," Mackanin said. "Braun is the kind of guy that will try to time the pitcher so he can get a jump. Sometimes you come set, you pitch. Sometimes you count to two and you pitch. Sometimes you hold it a little longer. [Giles] just held it longer than Chooch wanted to, basically."
Braun has nine stolen bases this season, but shouldn't have Ruiz just forgotten about him, considering Giles has been almost unhittable for a month?
"You might say he should have done that, but I don't have a problem with it," Mackanin said. "Because if you don't pay attention to that runner and he gets a jump and steals and gets in scoring position, you don't want that, either. It happens."
Aramis Ramirez followed Gomez and stroked a 0-1 fastball to center field to score Braun to tie the game. Giles punched his glove behind the plate as Braun crossed home. He had the inning in hand, but suddenly everything seemed to spiral out of control.
Did the 0-2 pitch to Gomez affect Giles? Nobody could say. Not even him. He left the clubhouse almost immediately.
Ruiz left almost immediately, too.
"Regardless of whether he did or not, I still have a lot of confidence in him," Mackanin said, asked if Giles let the sequence with Gomez unravel him.
But the inning got worse for Giles. He walked Gerardo Parra in an 11-pitch at-bat to the load the bases. Giles thought he had Parra struck out on a 3-2 slider, which hit the top of the strike zone, according to MLB Gameday. Home-plate umpire Mike DiMuro thought differently.
Giles then walked pinch-hitter Adam Lind on four pitches to score Gomez to give the Brewers the one-run lead.
"It was kind of a crazy inning with a lot of possibilities," Counsell said. "Aramis had the big hit, and then we made plays at the end."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his
Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.