Shane Victorino #8 (C) and Brad Lidge #54 (R) of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate their 6-5 win with teammates against the Colorado Rockies in Game Three of the NLDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Coors Field on October 11, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.
It was so chilly the players' breaths swirled around them like smoke as the mercury dipped into the 20s, but between frosty breaths on the mound, Brad Lidge came out of the bullpen in the ninth, warmed to the challenge and erased a season of frustration.
Philadelphia's beleaguered closer stranded runners at first and second when he retired Troy Tulowitzki on a flyball for the final out. The defending World Series champs beat the Rockies 6-5 in Game 3, taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
"When the postseason starts, it's a completely clean slate,'' said Lidge, who is from Denver. "It's definitely a treat to be able to play here right now, get a chance to pitch in front of family and friends."
The save was sweet redemption for Lidge. He converted all 48 save chances last year, capped when he struck out Tampa Bay's
Eric Hinske in Game 5 to clinch the Phillies' World Series title. But he lost his perfect touch this season -- he led the majors with
11 blown saves, went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and briefly lost his job in September.
"He's had ups and downs,'' Howard said. "Right now he's here to finish games. That's what matters. I was glad to see him out there.''
Ryan Howard's sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth scored Jimmy Rollins with the tiebreaking run.
The temperature was a crisp 35 degrees when the game started. That tied a record for the coldest game on record set when Cleveland hosted Florida in Game 4 of the 1997 World Series. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was the Indians' hitting coach.
"Once the game started, I didn't get cold at all,'' Manuel said. "I figured the guys on the field didn't if I didn't. I'm standing in the dugout. Of course, there was a heater there. But I was standing behind the heater. That's how smart I am.''
The Phils can wrap it up tonight. Game 1 winner Cliff Lee starts against Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez at 6:07 p.m.