If a walk-off win happens in Clearwater does it make a sound?
That was the question I had after watching Lou Montanez blast a 10th-inning game winner in the Phillies 5-4 win over the Pirates in Grapefruit League play Thursday afternoon.
The reasons are that even the Phillies celebration of the blast seemed muted. Normally players would dart of the dugout to greet and celebrate a walk-off homer. But when Montanez -- the likely Triple-A-bound outfielder is off to a hot .500/.429/1.333 start to Spring Training -- hit a long drive to left field off Pirates reliever Michael “son of Rich” Dubee there was a trickle of Phillies out of the dugout but not the home plate celebration so often shown in SportsCenter highlights. Plus considering the spring training tradition of not going deep into extra innings, the Phils and Bucs had already decided to call the game in the 10th inning even it remained tied.
And, as Montanez slapped high-fives with his teammates and coaches, something else became apparent: most of the Phillies regulars had already called it a day.
Leaving spring training games early are commonplace for starters as they sometimes go to work on other parts of their game or just go to get some rest but that doesn’t make Thursday’s celebration any less awkward.
Of course there was one guy of note who greeted a victorious Montanez -- Hall of Famer Michael Jack Schmidt. The Phillies legend has been teaching the current Phils a thing or two this spring training as a special instructor.
Enough about the end of the game, let’s get to what happened when the starters were out there.
Cole Hamels pitched 3-2/3 scoreless innings allowing four hits and a walk while striking out two. The lefty left with the bases loaded in the fourth but Dave Bush was able to get the Phils out of the jam.
Shane Victorino supplied the big offensive moment of the game when he hit a two-run homer in the fifth.
The win improved the Phillies to 3-3 in Grapefruit League play. They return to action Friday when they meet the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.