A night after a frustrating come-from-ahead one-run loss to the Reds, the Phillies flipped the script with strong relief pitching and some timely hits from the man who's hoping you'll send him to St. Louis: Shane Victorino. With Pedro Feliz on second base and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Flyin' Hawaiian blooped a single over shortstop and clapped his hands as Feliz beat the throw from Cincinnati center fielder Chris Dickerson to lift the Phils to a 3-2 win. The game-winner capped a night in which Victorino went 2 for 4 with a walk, a run scored, and two steals in addition to the decisive RBI--a nicely representative evening for his all-star case.
With starter Rodrigo Lopez sidelined after five innings with shoulder inflammation, Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson combined to hold the Reds off the board for four innings. Madson was particularly effective, earning the win with two spotless innings; since last Thursday's meltdown against the Braves, he's worked 4 2/3 innings of relief without allowing a baserunner over four games. PItchers on both sides benefitted from the cartoonishly large strike zone of home plate umpire Ron "Mea" Kulpa; Cincy starter Homer Bailey, who had walked 15 batters in his previous three outings, issued no free passes for just the second time in 21 career starts.
After falling behind 2-0, the Phils halved the deficit in the bottom of the fourth when Victorino beat out an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a Chase Utley flyout, and scored on Ryan Howard's single through the vacated left side of the infield. Two innings later, Jayson Werth clubbed his 19th homer of the season, and third in as many games against the Reds, to tie the score at 2.
Jamie Moyer faces Micah Owings in the series finale tomorrow night. In the meantime, why not spend a few minutes hitting the button for Shane Victorino?