PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Aaron Rowand left bloodied, broken and battered after a gutsy catch-and-crash that saved a win for Philadelphia.
Rowand was admitted to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he will undergo further evaluation after his violent collision with the center-field wall. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said a disabled list stint could be likely for his starting center fielder.
“He’s hurt pretty bad,” Manuel said. “He’s going to be out for a while. How long? I don’t know yet.”
With games already rained out in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Phillies started this one 12 minutes late and played in a steady drizzle until it started pouring which forced it to be stopped after the Mets batted in the top of the fifth inning. It was called after a delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Gavin Floyd (4-2) allowed two hits and walked four in five innings to help the Phillies take two of three from the Mets and move within three games of the NL East leaders.
Floyd was bailed out in the first inning by one of the best catches in the two-plus year history of Citizens Bank Park.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Xavier Nady hit a drive to deep center field that put Rowand on the run with his back to the infield. Rowand made the overhead catch in his outstretched glove as he smacked face first into the railing on top of the short bullpen fence next to the 398-foot sign and collapsed to the ground. His left knee dented the “M” in a wall advertisement and blood spurted from his nose.
Rowand gamely held up his glove to show the ball, then rested on his hands and knees as trainers and Manuel ran out.
With the runners going on contact and the ball sailing toward the top of the fence, the catch saved at least three runs. Shane Victorino replaced Rowand in the second inning and will likely start Friday night at Cincinnati.
“It won the game for us. That’s three runs,” Manuel said. “It definitely changed everything around in the game.”
Mets manager Willie Randolph called the catch one of the best he’s ever seen.
“You see great catches all the time, but to see a guy sacrifice his body like that made it even greater,” he said.
Rowand told the Phillies earlier this season he thought the rail needed padding to make the wall safer. The Phillies said the padding arrived Tuesday and was scheduled to be installed next week when they are on the road.
“It was an amazing catch, but it was bittersweet,” Floyd said.
Utley made it 1-0 in the first with his eighth homer into the first few rows of seats in right off Steve Trachsel (2-3). David Bell, who made a great diving stop at third base in the fourth to save a run, had an RBI single in the fourth.
It was a hustling—if not painful—night for Phillies center fielders. Victorino tripled off the right-field wall in the second inning, then sprinted out of the box on a hit to center in the fourth and stretched it into a double. He scored on Bell’s single.
Trachsel allowed six hits and struck out three. He tried stalling as the rain fell harder, stepping off the mound, fussing with the resin bag and walking around the mound, but it wasn’t enough to not make this one official.
It was a rough series for Rowand, who was hit so hard in the left hand by Pedro Martinez in the series opener that it sounded like the crack of the bat. … The Phillies won a night after having their nine-game winning streak snapped. The streak was tied for seventh-longest in team history … Mets manager Willie Randolph moved struggling LF Cliff Floyd to second in the batting order. He went 0-for-3 and his average dropped to .186. … The Phillies optioned RHP Geoff Geary to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.