An as-it-happened account of NLDS Game 2:
Top of the 1st: Kyle Kendrick on the hill. The rook has been money for the Phillies this year, winning 10 games after a June callup. Home Run, Tulowitzki. OK, it only one run. Home Run, Holliday. Oh shit. Is this whole season gonna finish up with an obscure late Saturday night loss in Denver? (notice the immediate flip-flop from optimism to doomsaying)
Bottom of the 1st: The Phils really need something to feel good about, at least a run in this inning to show they wont roll over. BAM! Rollins hits the first pitch from Morales over the fence for a Home Run. That’s stepping up when your team needs you.
Bottom of the 2nd: Phillies put 2 on with one out. I’m in my car on the way home when I hear Kendrick ground out. Steve Phillips says Helms (on 3rd base) should have been going on contact, and he is correct. Phillips goes on to say that the Rockies must walk Rollins with first base open, as the on-deck man, Utley, was 0-5 with 5 strikeouts. Phillips is right again as J-Roll makes Colorado pay for throwing him strikes with a 2-run triple. The Phils have their first lead of the series, 3-2. And more reason for optimism: Utley flies out to end the inning, finally making contact.
Bottom of the 3rd: Howard picked off 1st base. Where are you going? You’ve got to play smart baseball.
Top of the 4th: About the time that Hawpe sent Burrell to the warning track in left, right after the 2nd leadoff double in as many innings, it was clear that it wasn’t Kendrick’s day. A walk, then an infield hit and Kendrick leaves, still leading 3-2, but with the bases loaded. The right move, Kendrick was done. Kyle Lohse crap. Kaz Matsui hits a freakin’ Grand Slam. Did the announcer just predict he’d hit a Home Run? Prescient.
Bottom of the 4th: Great replay of the Matsui HR from the side — all the Phillies fans, waving their towels, arms dropping in unison as the ball jumps off the bat. Josh Fogg is in for the Rockies — if there’s a time for the Phillies to tee off, it’s now. Couple of hard hit fly balls, but a 1-2-3 inning.
Top of the 6th: Still 6-3, Joey Tables pitching for the Phils. This could be trouble. Walk. Walk. Get someone warmed up! Condrey warming. Too late, Torrealba doubles in two runs. One out later, pitching change. Good, don’t let Mesa do any more damage. Condrey can manage just as well — another run makes it 9-3. And another, 10-3.
Bottom of the 6th: Phillies have 4 innings to go, better start chipping away. Howard HR a good beginning.
Top of the 7th: Condrey starts a double play that ends yet another threat. Phillies still in it, need runs.
Bottom of the 7th: After a 1-out hit, Victorino tries to steal down by six runs. Unusual. He tries again and they pitch out! But no one covers 2nd. Rockie catcher Torrealba laughs about it, taking the “no worries, we’re up by 6” attitude. That won’t please the Baseball Gods! It costs them a run on a Rollins ground out, 10-5.
Bottom of the 8th: Iguchi pinch-hits in a big spot, 2 on and 2 out. He draws a walk and now the stage is set. Bases loaded for Ruiz. The Rockies go to their closer, Manny Corpas. The tying run is on deck, and … Ruiz grounds out to 3rd to end the inning. That’s gotta do it…
Bottom of the 9th: Nothin’. Phillies lose 10-5 and are down 2 games to none against the hottest team in baseball. And heading to freezing-cold Colorado. With a soon-to-be-45-year-old scheduled to pitch. Now that is some steep mountain.
Prediction: Philadelphians awake Sunday morning to find a mess of a football team is the only thing left to worry about.
[Photos by JERRY LODRIGUSS & CHARLIE FOX of The INQUIRER]