Phils sink Marlins with seven-run ninth
Victorino's two-out slam highlights comeback victory
MIAMI -- Officially, Shane Victorino hit his first career grand slam Friday night at Dolphin Stadium.
Phillies fans know better.
Victorino, whose slam off Matt Lindstrom in the top of the ninth inning propelled the Phillies to an improbable 7-3 victory over the Marlins, hit an unforgettable grand slam off Milwaukee Brewers left-hander CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the National League Division Series in October.
The slam off Sabathia landed in left field at Citizens Bank Park and gave Phillies fans a good feeling their team just might have what it takes to win the World Series.
The slam off Lindstrom landed in right field on "Bark in the Park Night" (1,540 dogs were in attendance) to win a game for a team desperately trying to find its groove.
"Both of them won games," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He hit one right-handed and one left-handed. It doesn't matter which one he hit the best. They all got the same result. It's not how far, it's how many."
"They were both big," Victorino said. "A home run is a home run, I guess, when you're a little guy like me."
But getting to Victorino's at-bat with a chance to win the game seemed just as impressive as the slam itself.
That is because Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson threw seven shutout innings against the Phillies, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight. He dominated the Phils, who had scored just two runs in their previous 28 innings until the ninth.
Brett Myers looked ready to take the loss. He allowed a three-run homer to Dan Uggla to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the first, but allowed just three hits and two walks in the next five innings he pitched.
"Myers stayed in there," Manuel said. "He made pitches when he had to. But you know what was good about Myers? We got him to  pitches. He was in trouble and he kept wiggling out of it. We've been using our bullpen this week really hard. He kept us at 3-0."
"I thought I'd fool him with a 3-2 breaking ball, but it didn't," Myers said of the homer to Uggla. "It didn't fool him."
But after Lindstrom retired Ryan Howard to lead off the ninth, Jayson Werth doubled and Raul Ibanez walked. Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, who has 16 regular-season pinch-hit home runs to lead all active players, ripped a single to right field to score Werth to make it 3-1.
Lindstrom walked Lou Marson to load the bases, but struck out pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett for the second out.
Jimmy Rollins was 0-for-4 and hitting just .159 for the season when he worked a walk to score Ibanez, keep the bases loaded and cut the lead to 3-2.
"You keep battling," Victorino said. "Every out counts. Every at-bat counts. Jimmy walking. Lou walking. Sometimes those things are contagious."
That is when Victorino stepped into the batter's box. He took the first three pitches he saw: two fastballs and a curveball to move the count to 2-1.
Lindstrom threw Victorino a fastball inside and he turned on it.
"He hit the heck out of the ball," Manuel said. "Smoked it. He put a good swing on it."
"I was looking for a fastball," Victorino said. "He's very firm. He's got a good curveball. He's got good pitches. You just hope you get a fastball you can hit."
Victorino circled the bases and met pinch-runner Miguel Cairo, Marson and Rollins at home plate. It certainly didn't have the same feeling as the slam in October, but it was big for this team at this time. Chase Utley followed with a solo homer to right to knock Lindstrom out of the game.
The Phillies improved to 7-8.
And just maybe they found some life, too.
"We know we can hit, and we're going to hit," Manuel said. "Innings like tonight, that's a big boost when we haven't done anything and we put a seven-spot in the ninth. That's good. We definitely needed that kind of inning."
After the way things have been going lately, they will take a victory any way they can get it.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.