Patience pays off for Phils in walk-off win
Victorino draws free pass in 10th to even series with rivals
PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino has had his share of big hits in the recent past.
He had the grand slam in Game 2 of the 2008 National League Division Series against the Brewers, and the game-tying home run in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers. He hit a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning to the beat the Marlins on April 24.
So believe Victorino when he said he wanted to swing with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning in Saturday's 6-5 victory over the Mets at Citizens bank Park.
He wanted to come through with another big hit.
But Victorino had to remain patient instead. Mets reliever Sean Green had loaded the bases, and Victorino knew he couldn't waste this opportunity by swinging at bad pitches.
"I was going to take a strike until I got one," Victorino said.
Green's first two pitches were out of the strike zone. After the third pitch was called for a strike, Victorino fouled off the next pitch to even the count at 2-2. Green's fifth pitch of the at-bat was outside for a ball.
"You try to tell yourself to be patient," Victorino said. "He's got to find the zone. He has as much pressure on him as you have."
Green's next pitch was low to walk Victorino and score Pedro Feliz from third base to win the game.
The Phillies have now won five games this season in their last at-bat.
"Guys play good under pressure," Jayson Werth said. "This team is kind of built that way. I think it fits into our game plan."
After left-hander Jamie Moyer allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings, including allowing three runs after recording two outs in the sixth, the Phils made some big defensive plays to end the eighth, ninth and 10th to keep their chances alive.
The Mets had runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth when Carlos Beltran laced a single to right field. Omir Santos rounded third and headed home, but Werth threw a strike from right field to Carlos Ruiz at the plate to save a run and end the inning.
"I knew I had a shot right off the bat," Werth said. "It was just one of those players where it's a do-or-die play. Coming in full speed, you get it and let it fly."
The Mets had runners on first and second with two outs again in the ninth when Santos hit a fly ball to shallow right field. Werth couldn't get there, but second baseman Eric Bruntlett made a nice over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning.
The Mets then had runners on first and third with one out in the 10th, but Beltran hit a grounder to Feliz. He fielded the ball cleanly, threw to Bruntlett at second for the force and Bruntlett threw to first to complete the double play.
"Defense wins championships as they say," Werth said. "Today was another testament to that."
Pitching wins, too.
Phillies starters have a troubling 6.71 ERA this season, but the Phillies bullpen threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings after Moyer's departure. The bullpen has a 2.36 ERA in their last 12 games. Jack Taschner (1-0) picked up the win, but closer Brad Lidge returned to the mound for the first time since April 25 against Florida.
Lidge, who had been recovering from inflammation in his right knee, threw a scoreless ninth, walking two (one walk was intentional).
"I had some real solid mechanics," Lidge said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to get a little more out of it. I don't want to say I was tentative, but it felt real good and hopefully I'll be able to push it a little more. This was definitely a great start because if I throw like that, knock on wood, I can pitch all year and not have any pain."
The Phillies have had a flair for the dramatic this season. They have been scoring enough runs. They have been playing good defense. Their bullpen has pitched better lately.
If their starting pitching could improve, they could really take off.
"We've got to get better," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've got to get [Cole] Hamels well. We've got [Brett] Myers and Moyer and [Joe] Blanton, and they were in our rotation at the end of the year when we pitched real good down the stretch. That's what got us into the World Series, and that's what won it for us. Our pitching has to get better. Our starting pitching has to get more consistent. That's what we talk about all the time."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.