Phillies' playoff run ends at Coors
After Victorino ties it in seventh, Rockies lock up NLDS late
DENVER -- The ball rifled off Jeff Baker's bat on its mission to right field, carrying with it the Phillies' season.By the time it reached Shane Victorino in right, Garrett Atkins had scored the go-ahead run for the Rockies, magnifying by 1,000 times the dying quail of a liner that dropped in front of left fielder Jayson Werth and the humpback liner that eluded second baseman Chase Utley to set up the winning laser on Saturday. If J.C. Romero was to allow his first run since Aug. 30 -- a span of 22 games and 17 2/3 innings -- it had to happen like this, on three successive gut punches. Sure, they might've been caught. But, realistically, the maximum effort wasn't going to be enough. Rockies closer Manny Corpas preserved that eighth-inning rally -- one that started with two outs and none on -- and saved Colorado's 2-1 win over Philadelphia, completing a three-game sweep in the National League Division Series and ending the Phillies' season. The Rockies will advance to play the Diamondbacks, who swept the Chicago Cubs earlier in the afternoon. That series begins on Oct. 11. The Phillies, painfully, will go home without a postseason win after a fierce charge to capture the NL East. "It's over," Werth said. "We wanted to win more than anything, and when you don't, it makes it tough." Though Werth appeared to have a play on the ball Atkins hit to left, it would have required a risky dive that, if missed, could've resulted in a triple. Instead, he ensured that the Rockies would only have a runner on first base, and forced the Rockies to get an extra hit to win the game. "Different part of the game or a different situation, maybe [you dive]," Werth said. "If you don't catch it, it's a triple. I looked at the tape and I probably had a chance at it, but a diving play right there is risky." "It's crazy, man," added Romero. "I know I executed my pitches, but ... that one out of the reach of Jayson, and [the hit past] Chase -- I tip my hat. They put enough wood on the [ball]. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's unfortunate that we came up short. We showed a lot of character, and now we have to go home and watch the [Rockies] continue to play."
The ending aside, the Phillies lost the series by not hitting. A vaunted offense that led the NL with 892 runs scored and logged the second-highest batting average managed three hits off Ubaldo Jimenez and three relievers, wasting a brilliant effort from veteran starter Jamie Moyer. The Phillies ended up hitting just .172 (16-for-93) in the series.Colorado scored first when Kazuo Matsui tripled past Pat Burrell, who appeared to take an indirect route. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba raced around from first with the game's first run. The evening started ominously, when a temperature drop turned a 73-degree announced game time temperature into a swirling Rocky Mountain wind. An inning later, a computer malfunction sent the game into a 14-minute delay when the stadium lights went dark. Philadelphia tied the game in the seventh when Victorino drove an 0-2 pitch over the right-field fence, giving the Phillies life. Fittingly, he grounded out to second for the final out, then had to take the long walk to the dugout while the Rockies celebrated. The Phillies had a similar celebration at Citizens Bank Park six days earlier.
|"It's a bitter taste, but we know what we're capable of. I think this will make us hungrier."|
|-- Greg Dobbs|
"It was frustrating seeing the gloves fly in front of me on the way back [to the dugout]," Victorino said. "But let them celebrate and enjoy what they did. They came a long way, just like we did. We rode the wave and ran into a hot team. We're frustrated to have come up short. It leaves us that much hungrier for next year. We got a taste now."Though the taste of being swept is bitter, at some point, the Phillies will realize that winning a division title and playing in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years has its benefits. After two years of almost getting there, this team finally made it. They got swept, but learned a lesson. "The experience didn't turn out the way we wanted," Ryan Howard said. "But you get in and get your feet wet. Now, we know what it feels like. We'll go into next year and want to go further. [What we accomplished] hasn't sunk in yet. There will be a point in the offseason where I'll think about what happened this year and be proud of this team, because we went through a lot." It just doesn't feel very good now. "I don't know when it will," Greg Dobbs said. "It's a bitter taste, but we know what we're capable of. I think this will make us hungrier."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.