They say that a walk is as good as a hit. Sometimes it's rubbish, but Tuesday night in St. Louis, it was good as gold for the Philadelphia Phillies, who used the base on balls to rally late and down the Cardinals, 10-2, to open their three game set.
With Roy Halladay on the mound looking for this 10th win, the Phillies only needed to put together a few hits in the early goings to get back in the win column after dropping two of three to the Seattle Mariners over the weekend. The right-hander didn't have his best stuff, but held the Cardinals to only one run on four hits over six innings of work.
He was matched by Cardinals' starter Kyle McClellan, who matched him toe-to-toe by holding the Phillies to one run on five hits over seven innings. It was a good enough effort, as his offense provided him with a pair of runs – one via an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth and another on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to give them a 2-1 advantage.
It wasn't enough, as the Phillies came roaring back in the top of the eighth, when they put nine runs on the board, thanks to four walks, a pair of hit batters and four base hits and a curious managerial move from Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa. With two on and one out and Ryan Howard due up, La Russa chose to pull his lefthander Trevor Miller in favor of hard throwing right-hander Jason Motte. The move didn't pay off, as Motte hit Howard in the elbow to load the bases, followed by another HBP to Placido Polanco to force in a run. Two batters later, Ben Francisco roped a two-out single through the left side to give the Phillies the lead, and they would pile on from there.
With the bases still loaded, both Carlos Ruiz and Michael Martinez walked to force in a pair of runs, which was followed by an RBI single to Jimmy Rollins. After a walk to Shane Victorino, the Phillies were given some extra insurance from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who both came through with RBI singles.
It was far more than enough for the Phillies, who sent 14 batters to the plate and put nine runs on the board to take the lead in the late innings.
Despite the offensive woes for the first seven frames, all it took to jump start the bats was a handful of miscues from the Cardinals, and the Phillies did not fail to take advantage.
On the down side of things, the Phillies did get some bad luck in the top of the eighth, when Placido Polanco was forced to leave the game after taking a fastball off his left hand in the middle of the rally. Post-game X-Rays on his hand were negative.
The Phillies will look to make it two in a row on Wednesday night, when they send Cliff Lee (7-5, 3.12) to the hill, where he will be opposed by former Phillie, Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.88).