06/08/10 11:52 PM EST
Phils rally late, edge Marlins in wild affair
Offense continues to rebound; Francisco delivers winner
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
The Phillies beat the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park, 10-8.
Just like those old-style Philadelphia wins, right?
"Old style?" right fielder Jayson Werth said. "You mean like '50s and '60s?"
More like May. It has been a long and trying time for the Phils' offense. The club was the best in the National League following a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox on May 21.
Philadelphia had since dropped to eighth in runs per game.
The slump started May 22, when Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Matsuzaka's performance started a stretch of 12 consecutive games in which the Phillies scored three or fewer runs. They went 3-9 in that span, which included an unfathomable five shutout losses.
But the offense has shown a pulse the past few days. The Phils beat the Padres on Saturday, 6-2, before losing to San Diego in 10 innings on Sunday, 6-5. The offense spoiled a fine effort from Cole Hamels in a 3-1 loss Monday, but it bounced back in a big way Tuesday.
"I'm happy with the way we stayed with it," said Ryan Howard, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. "Obviously we've been struggling to score runs. But it was a see-saw game. We got down. We tied it. We got up. We got back down. We came through when we needed it. We stayed in the game. We continued to battle."
Howard hit a two-run homer to left field in the third to cut Florida's lead to 4-2. Shane Victorino homered to right in the fourth to cut the lead to 6-4.
Chase Utley, who went 2-for-3 for his first multihit game since May 23, started the fifth with a single to right then broke up a double play with a hard slide into second base to keep things going. The Phillies scored two runs in the inning to tie the game.
"It was big," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He got down there, hit the shortstop and we caught a break."
The Phils took the lead in the sixth, but Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras each allowed a run to give the Marlins an 8-7 lead.
The Phillies didn't fold.
They had runners on second and third with two outs in the eighth when Ben Francisco laced a single up the middle to score Placido Polanco and Utley to give Philadelphia a 9-8 lead. Florida could have intentionally walked Francisco to load the bases to have the left-handed Taylor Tankersley face Raul Ibanez, who went 4-for-5, but thinking the Phillies might have Werth pinch-hit for Ibanez, the Marlins pitched to Francisco.
"I wasn't trying to do anything big," Francisco said. "Just trying to get a hit."
The Phils tacked on another run to give Brad Lidge a two-run lead. Lidge worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to pick up his third save.
Philadelphia hopes Tuesday is a sign of things to come. It's scored five or more runs in three of the past four games. If it continues to do that, it should start winning more games. Right-hander Kyle Kendrick pitched poorly Tuesday, allowing six hits and six runs in five innings, but otherwise the Phillies have pitched well.
"We hope so," Francisco said. "We've been about as bad as we can get and we're still right there [in the National League East]. We're a couple games out. When we get everything turned around, we should be where we want to be."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.