Baseball is the only one of the four major sports that is played without a clock. And on Sunday, the Phils benefitted from that glorious stroke of fortune.
Somehow, someway, an alternate universe presented itself at Citizens Bank Park in which the Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth down 2-1 with Reds’ fireballing closer Aroldis Chapman set to face Delmon Young, Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis. The following then proceeded to happen:
- Delmon Young walked on four pitches
- Cliff Lee pinch-run for Young, and was promptly picked off first.
- Erik Kratz then hit a full-count fastball over the left field wall for a game-tying homer.
- Freddy Galvis hit a game-winning fastball over the left field wall for a walk-off win.
You want to know how weird this was?
According to Elias and @bschifty – First time ever Phillies win on back-to-back HR’s in bot 9th since MLB began keeping records in 1930.
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallen_975) May 19, 2013
And it’s not like Utley and Howard went back-to-back. It was Kratz and Galvis.
KRATZ AND GALVIS.
Kratz and Galvis hit back-to-back home runs off a closer who throws in excess of 100 mph and with breaking pitches that twist hitters completely into the ground. Chapman came into the game with a 2.41 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. He had given up exactly one home run so far this year, and seven in 153 2/3 innings for his career.
So, what the hell happened?
“I thought we hit the ball hard all day. It just got caught and everything,” Manuel said. “We stayed with them and something good happened for us at the end. That’s the way you have to do it if you’re not scoring a lot of runs.”
The ninth inning heroics were set up by another nice performance from Jonathan Pettibone, who went seven innings and gave up just two earned runs, lowering his ERA to 3.00. Justin De Fratus and Antonio Bastardo miraculously kept the game close with scoreless innings (that may have been more unlikely than the back-to-back homers in the ninth) in the eighth and ninth, and Chase Utley’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning drew the Phils to within one.
That’s when the king of the turkey bacon and the suddenly power-hitting defensive whiz did their thing against one of the most dominant closers in the game.
Thank goodness there is no clock.