I have enjoyed bringing you many reflections on old Philadelphia Phillies scorecards over the past five seasons, and this is the penultimate one that I'll be digging into my bins for. I have also been waiting to use the word "penultimate" in an article. Today, we'll be traveling back 22 years to July 12, 2001 for an interleague contest at Veterans Stadium between the Phillies and the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
It's the first game back from the all-star break for the NL East-leading Phils, who come in at 50-37 to start this series against the 42-46 Blue Jays. On this pleasant July evening, Toronto is throwing staff ace Chris Carpenter at the Phils, while the Phillies start David Coggin — exactly what you expect from a first place club who's had several days to set up its rotation for the second half. Larry Bowa, you baseball genius.
Right from the jump, Coggin and Carpenter start matching zeroes, although they go about it in different ways. The Phils get baserunners in each of the first three innings but can't do anything to send a man home, while Toronto fails to record a hit against Coggin until Jose Cruz smashes a double in the fourth inning. After Carlos Delgado is intentionally walked, Luis Lopez singles to center with two outs, but Cruz is mowed down at the plate on a brilliant throw by Doug Glanville to keep it a scoreless game. The Phillies can't solve Carpenter, however, as they go down in order from the fourth through the seventh innings. Thankfully, he is lifted for pinch hitter Brad Fullmer in the top of the eighth. Hopefully, Carpenter won't ever completely baffle the Phillies in a crucial game in the future.
As for Coggin, he's still in there, throwing up scoreless inning after scoreless inning. He escapes the eighth and his night is done. Eight shutout innings, six strikeouts, three hits, and two walks. We didn't know it at the time, but this would easily be the best performance of his MLB career. Aside from this game, the longest scoreless appearance he'd ever put up would be a 3.2-inning relief appearance the following year.
Sadly, however, Coggin can't get a win out of this masterful display, as the Phillies go down in the bottom half of the inning against Toronto reliever (former Phil!) Paul Quantrill. Jose Mesa comes out for the ninth and promptly dispatches the Jays, but the Phillies go down in order in the bottom half of the inning. It's on to extras, still scoreless.
Rheal Cormier is now pitching for the Phils, and he shrugs off a one-out single by Darrin Fletcher (the catcher) to send Toronto back to the dugout empty-handed. Again, however, the Phillies don't do anything, and we are going to the 11th inning. I am running out of space on this scorecard. Then, finally, things happen. Jose Santiago enters the game for the Phils, and he immediately stinks up the joint. Toronto goes single, double, single, and it's 2-0 in the blink of an eye. Steady Eddie Vosberg enters in relief to record three straight outs and limit any further catastrophe. Now it'll be the Phils' last chance after they haven't recorded a hit since the second inning.
Facing Blue Jays closer Billy Koch, things start off promisingly enough when Tomas Perez doubles to lead off the inning. He advances to third on a groundout by Glanville, then Jimmy Rollins hits a long sac fly to left to bring him home. The Phillies are finally on the board, but they're down to their last out. Unfortunately, there won't be any heroics on this night, as Bobby Abreu grounds out to end the ballgame. Toronto wins 2-1, with all of the scoring coming in the 11th inning, even without the 'zombie runner'.
The Phils sink back into a tie for first after this setback, but they recover to fight tooth and nail with the Braves all year long. They end up missing out on the playoffs, of course, because that's what everyone expected to happen. In retrospect, it was a fun team, they just didn't have it on this night. All credit to David Coggin for a fantastic performance on this night. No word on what he's up to nowadays, but here's his exactly one-sentence long Wikipedia entry.