July 14 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) celebrates after striking out Colorado Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (not pictured) in the ninth inning at Coors Field. The Phillies defeated the Rockies 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

Phils Hold Off Rockies 8-5, Papelbon Earns His Keep


In the offseason, the Phillies paid Jonathan Papelbon $50 million to close out baseball games for the franchise. And in a bullpen that is more flammable than a box of oily rags sitting next to a stack of old newspapers, Papelbon has been the lone arm that manager Charlie Manuel can fully trust.

Which Manuel did last night, asking his closer to secure a five-out save in the Phils’ much-need 8-5 win in Colorado.

Manuel has been criticized a lot this year for his use of Papelbon. Or, to be more accurate, his lack of use of Papelbon. Charlie has resisted using him for more than just a three-out save, instead trying to make through the 7th and 8th innings with Chad Qualls, Antonio Bastardo, and last night, Jake Diekman and Brian Sanches.

Last night, the rookie left-hander Diekman entered the 8th with a comfortable 6-2 lead. But after a hit batter and a walk with one out, Manuel called for right-hander Sanches to face the Rockies’ rookie catcher, Wilin Rosario.

It didn’t work out. Rosario hit a bomb to left-center field, closing the gap to 6-5.

Finally, Charlie had seen enough.

Papelbon came on, shut the door, and for just the second time in 13 games, the Phillies had themselves a victory.

Phils’ starter Vance Worley was very good once again, and for one night at least, the Phils offense delivered in the clutch, thanks to a three-run, first inning homer by Carlos Ruiz that gave the Phils an early 4-0 lead. The Phils also got a huge two-out, two-run double from Worley, and two big tack-on runs in the ninth inning that gave Papelbon some cushion to close out the game.

But it was Papelbon’s five-out save that really saved the Phillies on Saturday night.

Perhaps that’s why they call it a “save.”

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