Who would’ve thought that my first recap ever written in English could be about such a crazy game?
‘Cause this one had it all: good starting pitching, bitten fingernails, booing, swearing, controversy, four lead changes, nearly-depleted rosters and, most of all, a lot of wasted chances. Not to mention an insane number of pitches. The Phillies staff threw 242 -129 for strikes-, while the Marlins brass came through with 217 -136 strikes-. 13 hurlers were used.
All the ingredients needed for a nerve-wrecking game.
Both starting pitchers left without taking part in the decision. Roy Halladay lasted six innings, giving up three runs -two earned- on nine hits. Aníbal Sánchez was done after the same number of frames, allowing two unearned runs on six knocks.
Both offenses struggled with runners in scoring position. Philadelphia went 2-for-12 (.167) and stranded 11. And the Fish did no better, going 3-for-19 (.158) and leaving 23 men on base. Yes, 23. A new team record in a season marred with futility.
The most controversial play occurred in the sixth inning: a fly ball that Bryan Petersen was going to catch, but a fan got in the way and, while trying to snare the ball with his cap, sent it against the right field corner, for an apparent double. After some arguing, Hunter Pence -the batter- was called out on fan interference, and his manager, Charlie Manuel, was ejected. You’d think that he learned something about self-control and voice tones from his playing days in Japan with the Yakult Swallows. Either way, the Phillies played the rest of the game under protest.
After that, the contest went into extra innings, tied at 4. The Fish loaded the bases on the 12th and 13th frames, but thanks to several lineouts, failed to bring the winning run across, raising the Impatience Meter to Defcon II levels. It appeared that we’d have yet another disappointment on the bottom of the 14th, but Mike Cameron drew a walk-off walk against David Herndon (L, 1-3), the same pitcher that conceded three roundtrippers to the Marlins in yesterday’s game, to give Florida their first series win in God knows how much time…
Clay Hensley pitched two scoreless innings in relief to get his third win of the year.
A win is a win, and you’ll take it, no matter the color of the package and/or the lace.