Phillies buoyed by 12th-inning victory

Phillies buoyed by 12th-inning victory

Phillies buoyed by 12th-inning victory
PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins doesn't think it's too late.

"Colorado won [20] in September and found themselves in the Wild Card," the Phillies shortstop said, referencing the Rockies' extraordinary run in 2007. "Those stories are still around baseball."

The Phillies still have hope that they can write a memorable second-half story of their own. They showed life in Sunday's series finale against the Giants, winning 4-3 on a walk-off single by Rollins in the 12th inning to salvage the final game of a three-game set. At 42-54, they are 14 games behind the first-place Nationals and 10 1/2 games out of both National League Wild Card spots.

Sunday's victory was their first at Citizens Bank Park since June 26, snapping a seven-game home losing streak. A defeat would have marked the first time Philadelphia lost eight home games in a row since they lost 10 straight in 1972.

"It was good to end that streak," Rollins said. "But more importantly, it's a 'W.' And any 'W' we can get right now, it's going to help us out going down the stretch."

The Phillies and Giants went to extra innings for the second straight day after another solid start from Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton. John Mayberry Jr. had his best offensive game in quite a while as he homered twice.

The much-maligned bullpen came through in a big way, even though it was without closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was unavailable after throwing 36 pitches over two innings Saturday night. Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Kyle Kendrick held down the fort after Blanton's exit to preserve the tie. Then, in the 12th, Carlos Ruiz worked a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a single from Laynce Nix and scored on Rollins' line drive to center on the first pitch he saw from Brad Penny.

"I haven't played a game in two months, so I was pretty excited to get back on the field," said Nix, who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game. He hadn't played since May 9 with a left calf strain. "It was fun to get a win there and hopefully we can keep it going."

Mayberry, who hadn't homered since June 19 and hadn't driven in a run since June 24, hit a go-ahead homer off Barry Zito in the seventh inning. The outfielder had also tied the game in the fourth with a solo shot. It was his second career multi-homer game after he accomplished the feat on July 6 of last season.

"My personal season has kind of gone along the same lines as the team's," Mayberry said. "Not necessarily the way that I've wanted thus far, but there's some more baseball to be played."

Blanton made his fourth quality start in his last five, holding the Giants to three runs on seven hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked just one on an intentional walk. The only real blemishes to his line came from two Nate Schierholtz homers -- one that led off the game -- and an RBI double from All-Star Pablo Sandoval.

Six games separate the Phillies from the July 31 Trade Deadline. If they are sellers, Blanton, a free agent at season's end, could be shipped to a contender to help bolster the bottom of a rotation. He put forth another good showing Sunday, and since 2008, the year Philadelphia acquired him from Oakland, Blanton's .773 post-All-Star break winning percentage leads all Major League pitchers.

Blanton, who has been mired in trade rumors often in his career, said he doesn't really pay attention or think about that possibility.

"It's something I got kind of used to," Blanton said. "I got used to it in Oakland. Oakland is an organization that trades players a lot, so I've been used to it my whole career. It doesn't affect me one way or the other."

Philadelphia now hosts Milwaukee for three games and then travels to Atlanta to cap off a crucial six-game stretch leading to the Trade Deadline.

Asked if he felt the team has what it takes to turn the season around, Rollins said, "It's not a feeling that you have, it's a fact."

"When we do it," he said, "that's a different story. But we have the horses now, and we'll get them back to full strength and Ryan [Howard] and Chase [Utley] are going to get more at-bats. We got some left-handed pop off the bench back with Laynce, who had a big hit today, which really put me in the position that I was in. And the pitchers have been doing a good job. Score more runs, a little bit more help in the bullpen and we can have a few wins."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.