Phillies Walkoff Rays


6. Final. 4. 21. 5

The Phillies downed the visiting Tampa Bay Rays by 5-4 in a Wednesday afternoon matinée at Citizens Bank Park, walking the game off in the bottom of the 10th inning.

With the victory, the club took 2 of the 3 games against the Rays, giving them back-to-back series victories for the first time all season. They have now won 5 of 6 games since returning from the MLB All-Star break last Friday.

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The Phils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead that could have been much bigger. Three batters into this one, they had the bases loaded with nobody out against Rays’ starter Jake Odorizzi.

Ryan Howard rolled into a 4-6-3 doubleplay, and Tampa was happy to exchange the lone run that Ben Revere scored on the play for the two outs. But Andres Blanco followed with an RBI single to bring home Freddy Galvis, and it was 2-0.

The Rays finally broke through in the top of the 5th, chasing Phils’ starter Adam Morgan with a 3-spot. Morgan started the trouble himself, hitting leadoff man Brandon Guyer. Then with one out, Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe ripped back-to-back RBI doubles to tie it up at 2-2.

That was it for Morgan, who went 4.1 innings and repeatedly escaped trouble. He allowed 9 hits and was charged with three earned runs. However, he didn’t walk anyone, and thus helped to limit the damage. Justin De Fratus replaced him, allowing a two-out RBI single to James Loney that put Tampa ahead.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Phillies tied it up again on a Cody Asche RBI double that scored Domonic Brown, who had 3 hits on the day. Then Ben Revere, who also had 3 hits, reached on a one-out error that allowed Asche to score and put the Phillies back in front by a 4-3 score.

As has been the case repeatedly in this lost season, the Phillies gave that lead right back. As has also been the case far too frequently, it was lefty Jake Diekman who gave it up, allowing a solo homer to right center by Forsythe to even the score at 4-4.

As the game rolled into the 9th, both teams went to their closers. Both the Rays’ Brad Boxberger and the Phils’ Jonathan Papelbon got their teams cleanly through the frame, moving the game into extra innings. And then a rarity, as both teams stuck with those closers for a 2nd inning.

Papelbon (2-1) got through his half of the 10th with a 1-2-3 inning. Boxberger (4-6) would not escape his half. Brown led off with his 3rd hit, and was sacrificed into scoring position by Carlos Ruiz. After Asche made the 2nd out, Phils’ interim skipper Pete Mackanin turned to Odubel Herrera as a pinch-hitter for Papelbon.

On a 2-2 pitch, Herrera, widely maligned for a bad base running effort that allowed a doubleplay at a key moment in Tuesday’s game, came through with a line single to left. Brown scampered home with the winning run, and the Phils, led by a football-like tackle from Papelbon, mobbed Herrera in celebration.

It was a moment that the Phillies haven’t gotten to enjoy much this season, and was significant in regards to seeing Paps celebrate so lustily. It may be one of his final celebrations in a Phils uniform, as he remains the subject of significant trade speculation as the MLB non-waiver deadline approaches, now just 8 days away.

The Phillies will now enjoy an off-day in the schedule before heading out on the road for five games. They will be in Chicago over this weekend for a series at Wrigley Field with the Cubs, enjoy yet another off day on Monday, and then play a quick 2-game Interleague set in Toronto against the Blue Jays next week. Those are two teams heavily related in Hamels and Papelbon trade rumors, so something could conceivably break on those fronts in either series.