A gutty start from Cole Hamels and another big game from Ryan Howard all went for naught Wednesday night as Brad Lidge blew save number 11 in a dispiriting come-from-ahead loss to the desperate Marlins before a crowd of hundreds in south Florida.
It was about as surprising as the sun coming up this morning. With the Marlins trailing 6-5, pinch-hitter Ross Gload led off with a double over the first-base bag. Chris Coughlan, batting something like .450 against the Phillies this season, somehow only got Gload to third with a hard out to right. John Baker, pinch-hitting for Cameron Maybin, struck out on a borderline full-count pitch that got Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected, and for an instant it looked like Lidge might escape. But he walked Hanley Ramirez on another full-count pitch, quickly gave up a game-tying single to Jorge Cantu, and then after getting ahead of pinch-hitter Brett Carroll 0-2, surrendered the game-winner.
Howard had driven in four runs earlier, two on a one-handed two-run double off the left-field wall in the third, and two more on a homer over that wall in the seventh. Hamels threw seven innings, allowing eight hits and four runs in severe Florida heat, and helped himself with two hits and an RBI. But as usual in 2009, all that was wasted on the altar of Lidge's ineptitude and, sad to say, Charlie Manuel's obstinacy. Insanity, indeed.