Power hitting legend Michael Martinez. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
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That was probably as bizarre of a ninth inning as you'll see in a decade of watching baseball, and for once in 2012 for the Philadelphia Phillies, it went their way, as the Phillies scored two runs in the ninth thanks to two balls that didn't leave the infield, topping the Rockies by a score of 7-6.
The game started the way so many games on sultry nights in Philadelphia get underway -- dingers! The Phillies and Rockies combined for four home runs in the first four innings, three by the Rockies, with the teams swapping three run homers from their eight hole hitters Wilin Rosario and Michael Martinez in the second. Michael Cuddyer and Chris Nelson would slam solo home runs, and the teams would enter the fifth inning tied at a score of 5-5.
After struggling through the first four innings, Phillies starter Joe Blanton settled in, retiring the last 11 batters he faced. Overall Blanton's DIPS-defying 2012 continued, with the right hander allowing five runs on three homers, striking out six and walking none. Rockies "starter" Alex White, the night after manager Jim Tracy announced the team's new four-man Franken-Rotation, limiting starters to 75 pitches, gave up five runs in 3.2 innings, coming out of the game after precisely 75 pitches. Serious business.
The teams would fail to score in the fifth through eighth innings, with the Phillies going hitless during that time.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon was brought in to pitch the ninth of the tied game, because the Phillies were at home and that's what your closer does at home when the score is tied in the ninth this doesn't make sense skip this paragraph, thanks dear reader.
Down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies made two quick outs of their own before a single from "Defensive Replacement" Ty Wigginton. Hunter Pence then proceeded to line a laser off the left field wall that, but for a little bit of top-spin, could have been a walk-off home run. Wigginton, running on the pitch (really) scored easily, tying the game. After walking Carlos Ruiz, Shane Victorino legged out an infield hit to load the bases for Placido Polanco.
Polanco hit a hard grounder up the middle that shortstop Marco Scutaro fielded cleanly and threw to first baseman Todd Helton, whose foot was slightly off the bag. Desperately searching for the bag with his left foot, Helton lost the race to the bag, with Polanco's toe just touching the base first, with Pence scoring the winning run on the Helton error.
Weird? Yes. But so good. The Phillies win the series!
GameGraph of the "What" after the jump.