Sunday, August 10, 2014

Howard's last inning heroics lift Phillies past Mets

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
August 9 2014, 6:45PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Howard felt an arm tugging at him as he rounded first base in the ninth inning on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. Seconds later he found himself on the ground at the bottom of a team celebration.

"I think it was a combination of Cody [Asche] and then he went down and I fell on him after [Domonic] Brown got there," he said with a smile..

Howard ripped a 3-2 Jenny Meija slider to right field to drive in Marlon Byrd and lift the Phillies past the Mets in walk-off fashion, 7-6.

He entered the final frame 0-for-4 on the day with a strikeout.

"[Zack] Wheeler was making pitches," Howard said. "We hit some balls hard and I hit a few to the warning track, we just had misses. You just aren't out of it until the 27th out. We took advantage of the opportunities we had when we were able to get them."

Chase Utley played a pivotal role in the win, finishing 3-for-4 with a homer and a triple. He also drove in three runs and was intentionally walked in the ninth before Mejia faced Howard.

"It was pretty much to be expected," Howard said. "Chase had three hits in the game and with the winning run in scoring position, I didn't have any hits.Who you going to face? The guy with three hits or the guy with no hits? I forgot about everything else that happened in the game and just wanted to win that at-bat."

Twice within the last week Howard has come through with a winning hit after Utley has been intentionally put on base.

"Ryan's been driving in runs for a long time," Utley said. "He's got a knack for driving in runs, especially big ones."

Through the first five innings on Sunday it looked as if the Mets dominance of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park would continue.

Kyle Kendrick again struggled with his command, throwing just 49 of 81 pitches for strikes. The right-hander surrendered six runs on 10 hits over five innings, walking three while striking out one.

"All in all, obviously it wasn't good," Kendrick said. "I fell behind and didn't have command of my off-speed pitches, so I had to go hard and that makes it tough because they can sit on one pitch. I really didn't have command of anything today."

Curtis Granderson opened the contest with a hard grounder that went through the legs of Howard. He later scored on a David Wright RBI-single. Utley answered in the bottom of the frame, launching a Wheeler slider to right center for his 11th homer of the season.

With one out in the third and David Wright on first, Travis d'Arnaud hit a fly ball to left that nearly fell at the feet of Brown. Two batters later, Juan Lagares laced a double to right scoring Wright and d'Arnaud. If Brown had caught d'Arnaud's fly-single the frame would have been over before Lagares came to the plate, meaning the Phillies would have entered the bottom of the third trailing by two runs instead of four.

Brown redeemed himself in the sixth though, clubbing a two-run double scoring Utley and Grady Sizemore to trim the deficit to the 6-3

Utley then cracked a 96-mph Vic Black fastball to the right field corner with two outs in the seventh, scoring Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins to bring the Phillies to within a run.

"It was a nice come from behind win," said manager Ryne Sandberg. "Shows a lot about the character of this team."

Waiver Claim
The Phillies claimed right-hander Jerome Williams off waivers on Sunday. The nine-year veteran opened the season with Houston and appeared in 26 games out of the bullpen before being released in early July. He then signed with the Rangers as a free agent and made two starts, surrendering 11 earned runs over 10 innings. He comes to Philadelphia sporting a 6.71 ERA on the season and a 4.51 for his career.

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