So I might as well admit up front that I missed the last two innings of this game. Right now, in fact, I should be on my way to a family function in Huntington Valley, but I screwed up a car reservation, then seemingly managed to borrow a friend's car until I got in the front seat, saw that "the Club" was on the steering wheel, called my friend, and found out that while his wife had been able to give me the car key, he had the only key to the Club with him at work, a half-hour subway ride away. A big-time FAIL on my part, and from finding out about the car reservation, to watching Brad Lidge squander another ninth inning lead, to running around Brooklyn in the heat and rain playing out the rest of the story it was one of the less fun hours I can remember.
After all that was done, though, I checked in to find that the Phillies had come away with one of their more improbable wins of the 2009 season, an extra-inning thriller in the Bronx that capped a taxing but successful 8-2 road trip and preserved the team's NL East lead at 1.5 games. Kudos go to Carlos Ruiz, who was on his game all day with three hits--including the game-winning RBI double in the 11th--and a series of defensive gems, and Clay Condrey, who pitched out of deep trouble in the 10th inning and held on in the 11th.
Cole Hamels battled a stacked Yankees lineup and New York ace CC Sabathia through six tough innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits--including a broken-bat home run by Mark Teixiera that alone would almost justify demolishing the $1.2 billion Stadium and starting again--while striking out five. Sabathia was as good or better, limiting the Phils to three runs on nine hits through eight innings with four strikeouts. Neither pitcher issued a walk.
As on Saturday, the Phils got effective relief work until Lidge came on. Chad Durbin worked a scoreless 7th and Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson got through the 8th to preserve the 3-2 lead. But Lidge surrendered an infield single to Robinson Cano to start the 9th, then saw pinch-runner Ramiro Pena steal second and score on Melky Cabrera's seeing-eye single up the middle. Lidge managed to escape without further damage, however, and Condrey pulled off an even more impressive feat in the 10th. After allowing singles to Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon to start the inning, he induced a 4-6-3 double play from Teixiera and, after an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez, got Pena to fly out. The Phils then won it in the 11th off Brett Tomko when Chase Utley walked with two outs, stole second, and scored on Ruiz's double.
The Phillies come home to start a three-game set with the Marlins on Monday night, as Jamie Moyer faces his favorite opponent hoping to finally notch career win #250.