Phillies Short Hops: Game 3
Howard, Lidge deliver in clutch, give Phils 2-1 NLDS lead
Fielding the Phillies' 6-5 win over the Rockies in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on a short hop ...In < 25 words ...
The Phillies took the lead on a ninth-inning sac fly, and Brad Lidge recorded three outs to save the series-changing win.
In the ninth inning, Chase Utley hit an excuse-me, check-swing nubber that appeared to glance off his leg in the batter's box. Nevertheless, it was ruled a fair ball, and Utley beat the throw from Rockies closer Huston Street. The infield single moved Jimmy Rollins to third. One batter later, Ryan Howard hit a sac fly to deep left-center field, scoring Rollins as the eventual game-winning run.
14 -- Number of career postseason saves for Lidge. Because starter J.A. Happ lasted only three innings, the Phillies had to turn to their bullpen early, and when Scott Eyre departed with an apparent ankle injury, manager Charlie Manuel summoned Ryan Madson in the seventh. That left Lidge as the prime ninth-inning option. He made things interesting, but escaped the ninth with the save and a Philadelphia victory. Game balls
With two on and two outs in the fourth, Ruiz capped off the Phils' go-ahead rally with a full-count single through the left side, scoring Jayson Werth from third. Then, two innings later, Ruiz broke a deadlock with another timely hit. His grounder over the second-base bag sent Raul Ibanez scampering home and gave Philadelphia a 5-4 lead.
Utley, who went homerless in his final 20 regular-season games, launched a 1-0 fastball from Jason Hammel over the right-center-field wall in the first. He added a single in the fourth, scoring on Ibanez's bases-loaded walk, and recorded the infield hit that keyed the Phillies' ninth-inning rally.
It wasn't pretty, but the Phillies' most maligned reliever succesfully converted his first save chance of the 2009 postseason. Lidge fell behind every hitter he faced and walked two. But with two on, he got Troy Tulowitzki to fly to shallow left field to end the game.
Sense of October
First-pitch temperature was 35 degrees, tying the postseason record set in Game 4 of the 1997 World Series.
4 AB, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
Comment: Utley recording his second career three-hit postseason game, having notched three hits against the Dodgers in Game 4 of last year's NL Championship Series. His first hit Sunday left the park, while his third one set up Howard's sac fly and, therfore, Philly's series-changing win.
3 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: Happ and Manuel did not envision this as the 26-year-old's first postseason start. Happ struggled with his command, throwing 35 pitches in the first inning, and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fourth.
"When the postseason starts, it's a completely new slate. And [I] get out there and I feel real good in the postseason and in general right now. So hopefully we'll keep doing the job as a whole that we did with the bullpen tonight." -- Lidge
Because inclement weather postponed Game 3 by one day, the Phillies will go back to Cliff Lee for Game 4. The left-hander went the distance in the series opener, barely missing a shutout, and could clinch an NCLS rematch with the Dodgers.
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.