Phillies rally in ninth for wild walk-off victory

Phillies rally in ninth for wild walk-off victory

Phillies rally in ninth for wild walk-off victory
PHILADELPHIA - A little late-inning fight from the Phillies?

Could this be the jolt they needed?

"Hopefully that's a good omen," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

"Something like this hopefully kick-starts something," Shane Victorino said.

The Phillies entered Wednesday's 7-6 comeback victory over the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park winless in 28 games when trailing after eight innings, and 1-9 when tied after eight innings.

So there had been little reason for Phillies fans to believe their team would come back after Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Rockies a one-run lead.

They had even less reason to believe when Rockies pitcher Rafael Betancourt retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom half.

But then Ty Wigginton hit a two-out single to left field and Hunter Pence hit a laser off the top of the wall in left field to score Wigginton to tie the game at 6-6.

Betancourt then intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz to put runners on first and second before Victorino hit a ground ball to Rockies shortstop Marco Scutaro. Victorino ran hard from the moment he made contact and beat the throw to load the bases.

"You bust your behind down the line and anything can happen," Victorino said.

Placido Polanco stepped into the batter's box next and hit a 2-2 fastball up the middle to Scutaro. He hustled down the line and stepped on Helton's foot and the bag at the same time and was called safe as Pence scored the winning run. Helton was charged with an error.

"We hustled at the end of the game there," Manuel said. "That's what helped win the game for us."

The Phillies poured out of the dugout to mob Polanco at first. It was just their second walk-off victory this season. They had suffered eight walk-off losses on the road.

Did Polanco's teammates give him a beating at all during the celebration?

"No, no," Polanco said. "They're all weak."

First-base umpire Alfonso Marquez made the right call on a remarkably close play. Polanco admitted he thought he had no chance to beat the throw from Scutaro, but then noticed Helton stumbling to find the bag.

"I had a chance," Polanco said.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I thought that the ball was going to the outfield," Helton said. "When I realized he had it, I thought he was going to second. It's still not an excuse. I should still be on the bag ready and I wasn't. It's a pretty bad feeling when you're trying to find the bag and the ball's coming. It was a bad situation. I should've been on the bag and it should've been an out. So it's my fault."

It was the Phillies' second consecutive win, improving them to 33-37 and keeping them eight games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East.

This would have been a tough loss to take.

The early innings looked like a game between a couple teams that have been scoring and allowing a lot of runs. Since May 1, the Rockies (4.95) and Phillies (4.80) ranked first and second in the National League in runs per game. In that span, Phillies (4.42) and Rockies (5.80) pitchers ranked 13th and 16th in the NL in ERA.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Joe Blanton coughed up the lead in the second when he allowed a three-run home run to Wilin Rosario to make it 3-1.

That has been a trend for Blanton for the past month. In the 18 innings the Phillies have scored runs in Blanton's last seven starts, he has allowed at least one run in the next half-inning 11 times.

Michael Martinez answered in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. But Blanton followed form again and allowed a home run to Michael Cuddyer in the third to make it 4-4. Blanton then allowed a homer to Chris Nelson in the fourth to make it 5-4.

Blanton has allowed 16 homers in 41 1/3 innings over eight starts.

The Phillies tied the game in the fourth when John Mayberry Jr. doubled and scored on Jimmy Rollins' bloop double to right. But this time Blanton kept the game tied, retiring the final 11 batters he faced.

Blanton allowed six hits, five runs, three home runs and struck out six in seven innings. It was the sixth time in his last seven starts he has allowed five or more earned runs to give him a 7.44 ERA in that span.

But Blanton considered Wednesday's line deceiving.

"I felt in control the whole game," Blanton said. "In some other outings when you give up runs, you feel out of control the whole game, you don't know where anything is going and you're making mistakes. I really didn't feel like that tonight. It's baseball. Sometimes you don't have any luck. I feel like that's what happened tonight. I feel fine about the way I threw the ball."

The Phillies felt fine, too. Walk-off wins tend to do that.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.