Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon celebrates the final out to get the save against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Brewers 7-6. Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
The Phillies swept their series over the Brewers, winning all three games by the same score and in dramatic fashion. Could they get back into the wild-card race?
That headline reads as if it were a tennis match, but it's not. And it's true: the Philadelphia Phillies just completed a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, winning all three games by the same score: 7-6.
It's not just the scores of the games but the method in which the Phillies won all three -- coming from behind in the late innings to win, twice on walkoffs, Wednesday in extra innings after spotting the Brewers a run in the top of the 10th.
Monday, the Phillies scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, winning the game on a sacrifice fly by Ty Wigginton. All the runs were off new Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez, who had taken over the role from John Axford just a week ago.
Tuesday, the Phillies turned a 6-1 eighth-inning deficit into the win with a stunning six-run inning that included a two-run pinch-homer from Erik Kratz, who has spent much of this season shuttling back-and-forth between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia as an injury replacement.
And Wednesday, it was K-Rod blowing a save again -- his sixth blown save of the season and fourth this month -- and the Phillies scored a pair in the bottom of the 10th inning after giving Milwaukee a 6-5 lead in the top of the inning. Kratz doubled in the tying run and Mike Fontenot, running for Kratz, scored the game-winner on a line single to right by Jimmy Rollins.
The Phillies have now won four straight and eight of their last 11. They've moved ahead of the Brewers (who have now lost six in a row) in the wild-card race by a few percentage points; they stand 9½ games behind the current wild-card-leading Braves and Pirates, and are creeping up on the slumping Mets and Marlins.
Hunter Pence, Cliff Lee, Rollins and Wigginton, among other Phillies, have been the subject of trade rumors as the non-waiver deadline approaches. But as they creep closer to the wild-card lead, and Chase Utley is starting to hit a little, and Ryan Howard is starting to hit a little, maybe they stand pat -- 9½ games behind in late July isn't anywhere near an insurmountable barrier, as we learned just last year.