Entering the bottom of the ninth Saturday night, the Phillies trailed 7-3 in a game that for eight innings had sent the message, "this isn't your night, gentlemen." Cole Hamels was blitzed for five runs, including three homers, in the first two innings. After the Phillies finally mounted some offense against Pittsburgh starter Ross Ohlendorf to draw within 5-3 after six, Chad Durbin's wildness and two misplays by third baseman Greg Dobbs immediately gave the Pirates two runs back. With Jimmy Rollins on first in the bottom of the seventh, Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson made a highlight-reel catch with his back to the infield, spun, fired, and caught Rollins off base for a double play.
And then a final frame that was the Phillies lineup at its sublime best. Matt Stairs pinch-homer; Jimmy Rollins walk and steal around a Shane Victorino flyout; Chase Utley single, Jimmy to third; Ryan Howard with a missile shot out to center that ties it. A ground-rule double for Raul Ibanez, an intentional walk to Jayson Werth; Pedro Feliz loads them with an infield single. And Bako--Paul Bako, about whom I've spent a good chunk of the last seventy-two hours or so actually annoyed that he wears the uniform of my favorite team--wins the sucker with his second RBI hit of the night.
Eight wins, one loss on the homestand with one to go. Good times.