10/12/09 10:50 PM EST
Phillies Short Hops: Game 4
Howard, Werth, Lidge punch Phils' ticket to NLCS
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
In < 25 words ...
Cliff Lee was dominant, and after the Rockies took a two-run lead in the eighth, the Phillies scored three in the ninth to advance.
Ryan Howard's clutch two-run double in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The Rockies took a 4-2 lead in the eighth on a two-out double by Yorvit Torrealba, but the Phillies gave themselves a chance by putting runners on first and second with two outs against Colorado closer Huston Street. Howard didn't let them down. On a 2-1 fastball from Street, Howard pulled it over the head of Carlos Gonzalez in right field to score Shane Victorino and Chase Utley and tie the game at 4. The next batter, Jayson Werth, singled to center field to give Philadelphia its second and final lead. Big number
4 -- That's the number of Rockies baserunners who got in scoring position against Lee in the first seven innings, and one of those only got to second base because of a two-base error by Raul Ibanez in left field. Lee allowed only three baserunners between the second and fifth inning and was pretty much unhittable until getting into trouble and exiting in the eighth. Game balls
The Phillies' slugger came up huge with his team down to its last out in the ninth, scorching a two-run double to right field to tie the game, then coming around to score the go-ahead run. Howard had six RBIs in this series and at least one in each of the four games.
After almost throwing a shutout in Game 1, Lee was nearly flawless once again for the Phillies, giving up one run in the first seven innings and finishing with three runs (one earned) to his name in 7 2/3 frames. Two of those runs came with Ryan Madson on the mound in the eighth, as Lee exited with runners on first and second and one out.
Werth gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the sixth, then brought in the go-ahead run with a two-out base hit to center field in the ninth. The Phillies' right fielder finished 2-for-4 with a walk.
Sense of October
Nothing says October like Brad Lidge putting the finishing touches on a save -- at least that's what Phillies fans hope. With runners on first and second and two outs in the ninth, manager Charlie Manuel replaced Scott Eyre with Lidge, who got Troy Tulowitzki to go around on a low 2-2 slider to nail down the Phillies' series-clinching win. The 2009 regular season brought Lidge a 7.21 ERA and 11 blown saves. But all that matters now is that he's 2-for-2 in save chances in this postseason.
5 AB, 2 H, HR, RBI, 2 R
Comment: Victorino put the Phillies on the board with a solo home run in the first -- very important considering the team that scored first won each game of this series -- and finished the NLDS 6-for-17 (a .353 batting average).
1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 SV
Comment: It was just one batter, but it was a big one for Lidge and the Phillies.
"At the end of the day, they had the momentum on their side. But this is the kind of team that doesn't quit until the game is over -- until there's 27 outs." -- Howard
The Phillies' Game 4 win at Coors Field sent them to the NL Championship Series for the second straight year. Once again, they'll face the Dodgers beginning Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Philadelphia was 3-4 against Los Angeles during the 2009 regular season, including 2-2 on the road. In the '08 NLCS, the Phillies beat the Dodgers in five games.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.