04/19/09 12:08 AM ET
Lidge proven human as Phils fall
Closer sees 47-game save string ended against Padres
By Andy Jasner / Special to MLB.com
How could it not be?
More than five hours before the Phillies hosted the Padres on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, there was a tear-jerking memorial service for Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, who passed away at the age of 73 on Monday.
After such a moving tribute, the Phillies had to find a way to prepare for this game.
After briefly going ahead, 5-4, in the eighth inning, the Phillies allowed four runs in the ninth on their way to a disappointing 8-5 loss to the Padres before a sellout crowd of 45,007.
After Chase Utley homered to right off Duaner Sanchez to tie the game at 4, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth smacked consecutive singles, putting runners at first and third. Pedro Feliz followed with a sacrifice fly off Cla Meredith, scoring Ibanez with the short-lived go-ahead run.
When ultra-reliable closer Brad Lidge entered the game in the ninth, the unthinkable occurred: He blew the save. Lidge was 41-for-41 last season (also going 7-for-7 in the postseason) and had converted 47 straight save opportunities in the regular season dating to 2007. His last blown save came all the way back on Sept. 23, 2007, at St. Louis.
"I tried not to think about what it would feel like when it ended," Lidge said. "I tried to take it one game at a time. Now that it's over, I'm proud of what I did. It's a new season now, and I need to pitch better."
Lidge allowed an RBI groundout to Brian Giles, scoring Jody Gerut to even the game at 5 in the ninth. Lidge later gave up a three-run homer to Kevin Kouzmanoff to complete the four-run inning. The appreciative Phillies fans clapped in unison as Lidge returned to the dugout, understanding the magnitude of Lidge's streak.
"It made me feel good when they were cheering," Lidge said. "I'm still not happy with my performance. I'm appreciative for their support."
Lidge's teammates are appreciative of his efforts.
"It's amazing, 47 straight saves," starter Brett Myers said. "That's just amazing. Unfortunately, it wasn't 48. I know it's tough, but he'll rebound."
Myers earned a no-decision, but he was effective, giving up three earned runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. Myers struck out six and walked four in a 108-pitch effort.
"The first inning, my emotions were running a little bit from earlier," Myers said of the memorial service for Kalas. "I wanted to perform well. I just had to pitch, but I had seven days off. I had trouble finding my rhythm from the start."
Ibanez put the Phillies ahead, 1-0, in the second, lacing Shawn Hill's 3-1 pitch over the fence in left field, but Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez erased the lead in the third with a towering two-run homer to center.
An RBI double by Giles in the fifth gave the Padres a 3-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, Myers doubled off the right-field wall to open the frame. Two batters later, Shane Victorino hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Myers and cutting the lead to 3-2.
Ryan Howard then tied the game at 3 in the sixth with a solo shot to left off Luke Gregerson.
While the Phillies rallied to go back ahead in the eighth, the lead didn't stand.
Lidge has already given up more homers (three) than he did all of last season (two).
"It was one of those nights where it caught up to him," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'll get him out there as soon as possible. He's been awfully good here."
Lidge plans to be just as good in the future.
"I feel fine mechanically," Lidge said. "I'm just not hitting my spots."
Andy Jasner is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.