Lidge’s balk forces Phillies to go extras for win
Turns out he was safe, thanks to his super slide that lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 win over the NL West-leading San Diego Padres in the 12th inning Friday night, three innings after Brad Lidge(notes) balked in the tying run.
“There’s a lot that goes through your mind when you know you’re out,” Rollins said.
Rollins doubled to the right-field wall off rookie Ernesto Frieri(notes) (0-1) leading off the 12th and came around to score on Placido Polanco’s(notes) single to center. Luis Durango(notes) made a strong throw to catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes), but Rollins slid wide to avoid the tag and reached back with his left hand to touch the plate. Umpire James Hoye signaled safe as Rollins popped up and clapped his hands.
“I do that slide all the time, but usually it’s before the tag,” Rollins said. “This time Yorvit had the ball and I was really just trying to avoid him. It’s a bad feeling. He started swinging the glove around and by the time I looked back he was behind me. I somehow ended up in front of him. I don’t know what I did. Then it just happened quick.”
His teammates were impressed.
“That was one of the most athletic slides I’ve ever seen,” Lidge said.
Philadelphia, which had been swept in four home games by Houston, took a half-game lead over San Francisco in the wild-card race and pulled within two games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
The Padres remained six games ahead of San Francisco in the NL West.
Lidge was one strike from saving a 2-1 win for Roy Oswalt(notes) when he balked with the bases loaded, bringing in Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) with the tying run. Facing Chase Headley(notes), Lidge started his motion and then stopped as he appeared to glance at Hairston at third.
Lidge called his balk “a bizarre thing.”
He said he was moving the ball into his glove to get his grip when the ball hit his glove and started coming out. He looked down while his momentum was taking him forward.
“Basically I had to step off or I would have fallen on my face,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to explain. It happened pretty quick. Suffice it say I wasn’t thrilled about that, and probably in a million more windups, something like that wouldn’t happen. Fortunately, we won the game.”
Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs(notes), who was with the Phillies the last two seasons, led off the ninth with a single. Hairston pinch ran and was sacrificed to second by David Eckstein(notes). Miguel Tejada(notes) grounded out, Adrian Gonzalez(notes) was intentionally walked and Lidge hit Ryan Ludwick(notes) in the right hand with a pitch to load the bases and bring up Headley, who after the balk grounded out to end the inning.
It was Lidge’s fifth blown save in 22 chances.
Oswalt was in line for his fourth straight win and 10th of the season after outlasting 22-year-old Padres starter Mat Latos(notes). Oswalt held San Diego to one run and five hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked none.
“He did a fantastic job,” Eckstein said. “He’s been great his last four starts. He was really mixing it up well.”
Latos also pitched well, limiting the Phillies to one run on five hits in seven innings, with six strikeouts and two walks. It was the 13th straight start in which Latos allowed two or fewer earned runs, extending his franchise record and matching Florida’s Josh Johnson(notes) for the longest streak in the majors this year. Latos is 8-1 with a 1.51 ERA during that streak.
“You could tell both pitchers were on their game,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “That’s the way we’ve been playing. We’ve been playing hard, we’ve been playing loose.”
San Diego’s normally reliable bullpen faltered in the eighth. Mike Adams(notes) struck out Placido Polanco before loading the bases on two walks and a single. Left-hander Joe Thatcher(notes) came on and allowed Ibanez’s RBI single to right. Luke Gregerson(notes) got the Padres out of the inning without further damage by getting Shane Victorino(notes) to force Howard and striking out Carlos Ruiz(notes).
Torrealba homered leading off the third to tie the game at 1. It was his fourth.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead with three straight singles up the middle with two outs. Latos retired Ruiz and Oswalt on grounders before Rollins dropped in a single just beyond second baseman Eckstein. Polanco hit a hard shot back through the box and Chase Utley(notes) followed with a single that scored Rollins.