One year ago tonight, Cody Asche did this:
He hit his very first walk-off home run. It was a two-run shot that put the Phillies over the Marlins. Tonight's game started late and almost ended even later, but Cody Asche's 9th inning pinch-hit two-run walk-off homer put the Phillies up 7-5 over the Cubs.
It would seem like Cody Asche's home run was the most important part of this game. But I don't think that's true. The real hero of this game is Jerad Eickhoff, who kept the Cubs at bay for seven innings tonight. Over those seven innings, Eickhoff allowed three hits, one run (a solo shot by Kyle Schwarber who was first pitch swinging as usual), and three walks. And in 95 pitches, he racked up eight strikeouts. The Cubs had no idea what to do with Eickhoff, all they could do was flail helplessly. It was a gem of an outing, and without it the game would have turned out much differently.
The Phillies scored the vast majority of their runs -- five, to be exact -- in the seventh inning when Cubs reliever Justin Grimm had a meltdown. With two outs (and keep in mind that everything that happened with two outs), Grimm walked Aaron Altherr. Then, Andres Blanco reached on a fielding error. Ryan Howard came into the game and followed with an RBI double to tie the game, his first pinch-hit RBI of the entire season. (It was also his 643 extra base hit, tying him with Chuck Klein for 4th highest in franchise history.) Grimm then walked Brian Bogusevic to load the bases. There are still two outs -- a careless swing ends the best chance the Phillies have had to score all night. Darnell Sweeney comes to the plate and draws one of the most exciting walks of the entire season -- it gave the Phillies the lead. I figured the Phillies were done here, since Joe Maddon finally realized that Grimm was cooked and brought in Zac Rosscup. I was delightfully wrong, though. Rosscup gave up a bases clearing double to Cesar Hernandez that put the Phillies up 5-1.
The lead was short lived. Luis Garcia came in for Eickhoff in the eighth and didn't retire a single batter. A single, a walk, and a double gave two runs right back to the Cubs. Jeanmar Gomez would replace Garcia and proceed to give the Cubs two more runs. The game was tied again. In fact, Ken Giles got an extra out of work because Gomez couldn't finish the eighth, either.
That's where Cody Asche comes in. With two outs, Asche came to the plate and did this to the first pitch he saw:
YAY! PHILLIES WIN! IT WON'T BE A SWEEP! And maybe September 12 is just lucky for Cody! Whatever team he's on next September 12, hopefully not the Phillies, will get to find out. Seriously, I hope it's not the Phillies.
The series finale is tomorrow at 1:35pm. Join us, won't you?