I sort of expected a different outcome to this game, so I’ll just use the game story I wrote just after Matt Kemp “got” Ryan Howard (who survived a hard run from second) out at home, according to umpire Wally Bell.
HEY MY NAME’S HOME PLATE UMPIRE WALLY BELL AND I HAVE A TURNIP INSTEAD OF A BRAIN. WHAT’S THAT YA SAY? A GAME ON THE LINE? A CLOSE PLAY AT THE PLATE? WELL WADDYA SAY I USE THIS TURNIP-MIND OF MINE TO MAKE THE CALL. OBVIOUSLY A TIE GOES TO THE THROWER SO WHY DON’T WE GO AHEAD AND CALL THIS ONE AN OUT, HMM? SOUND GOOD? HAHA JK IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK BECAUSE I AM THE UMPIRE. LA DEE DAH DE DAH. BOY I’M HUNGRY THINK I’LL TAKE A BITE OF THIS TURNIP. OH GOD MY BRAINS. THEY’RE SCRUMPTIOUS.
It seemed like Hunter has used his clutch moment for the month.
After that, it took a freakishly unlikely turn of events to score the two runs necessary to win. First, the Phillies loaded the bases in the eighth, which isn’t too uncommon, but with two outs and Chooch unavailable to hit on account of being on first base, it didn’t seem like there was anybody who could knock those runs in.
So Hunter stepped in.
He took a high fastball. ”Pence’d” at the next one.
And then plucked a grounder up the middle that plated Chase Utley and John Mayberry and gave the Phillies the lead after the seventh inning for the first time in 2012, after failing to do so 39 times before.
It was weird.
Also Roy Halladay came back, I guess.
He pitched five innings with two earned runs, five hits, and six K’s. The two Dodger runs were a result of four consecutive hits he allowed in the second. When he departed, everyone realized the bullpen would have to deal for the next four innings and I can’t believe even the bullpen was excited about that.
But the classic Schwimer-Horst-Kendrick-Bastardo-Papelbon cocktail yielded only two Dodger hits between the five of them.
When It All Went Right
Hunter Pence batting with the bases loaded and two outs usually just means that hey; the opposing team can just throw the chopped grounder to any base. Not this time! Hunter’s chopper chopped its way to the outfield, where it became what’s known as a “two-run single.”
Most Attractive Play
And then, when the second of two fly balls that would have been tenth row home runs in Citizens Bank Park headed straight for Hunter, instead of falling down or finding someone to collide with, he caught the ball! Then he collided with something.
**Checks notes, finds no KK screw-ups as he held the Dodgers scoreless through an inning and two thirds. Also finds no notes; only a crude drawing of Cole Hamels kicking LEGO Land across a map of the United States while thousands flee in horror.**
Matt Kemp, for throwing Ryan Howard out at home when it’s so obvious Ryan needs all the moral support he can get at his age.