After a brutally tough extra-innings loss Tuesday night, the Phillies showed their resilience--and offered a reminder of just how good then can look when they get decent pitching--with an 8-3 win in Houston on Wednesday afternoon. Heroes included Cole Hamels, who earned his 10th victory of the year with seven innings of one-run ball; Wes Helms, who had his second straight three-hit game; Chase Utley, who was a home run short of the cycle; and Ryan Howard, who cracked his 20th homer of the season.
The win allowed the Phillies to avoid getting swept in Minute Maid Park, and gave them a series victory in an alternate, more just universe: what made Tuesday's defeat so galling was that Antonio Alfonseca had appeared to preserve a 4-3 lead in the 9th inning when, with the bases loaded and one out, he got Astros slugger Carlos Lee to ground into what looked like a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. But first-base umpire Lance Barksdale inexplicably called Lee safe, the run scored, and Houston won it on a walkoff home run four innings later.
During the game Wednesday, Barksdale offered a "my bad" to Phils manager Charlie Manuel:
Manager Charlie Manuel got a reminder of that in the eighth inning when he walked to home plate to inform umpire Barksdale of a double switch.
At the end of the quick conference, Barksdale apologized to Manuel for blowing a call in the ninth inning the night before. Barksdale had ruled that Carlos Lee had beaten a double-play ball that would have ended the game and given the Phillies a 4-3 win. The call enabled the Astros to tie the game, and they won it on Pence's home run in the 13th.
Manuel, who was ejected by Barksdale after disputing the call Tuesday night, held no ill will toward the umpire.
"I told him, 'Even I made a mistake one day,' " Manuel said with a chuckle.
There's no percentage in Manuel staying mad at an ump; Barksdale will call Phillies games again. (For that matter, he might have given Hamels a couple advantageous rulings working behind home plate today.) But I sure can. We're in a race here, asswipe; do your job.