DENVER -- The calendar says it's still just mid-July. But for the Phillies, who are trying to get back in the NL East race and have little margin for error, the days are dwindling.
So when the Rockies crept within one run in the eighth inning Saturday on a three-run homer by Wilin Rosario with one out, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel took extreme measures. For just the third time this year, Manuel brought on closer Jonathan Papelbon to get a save of more than one inning.
The strategy worked, and the Phillies added two runs in the ninth to beat the Rockies 8-5.
Rosario hit his 15th homer off Brian Sanches, who came on to face him. Papelbon had 33 career saves of more than one inning, including two this year -- 1 2/3 innings against the Marlins on June 1 and 1 1/3 innings on June at Minnesota --and 33 times in his illustrious career.
Papelbon got Josh Rutledge to ground to third, with first baseman Ryan Howard deftly digging out third baseman Placido Polanco's low throw. Pinch hitter Jason Giambi came up, the winner of a dramatic confrontation with Papelbon two years ago when he was closing for the Red Sox.
On June 23, 2010, Giambi hit a two-run walk-off homer off Papelbon to cap a three-run ninth and give the Rockies an 8-6 win. This time, Papelbon fell behind 2-0 but struck Giambi out on six pitches.
The Phillies scored twice in the ninth off Matt Belisle, who took the mound with a 1.89 ERA in 44 appearances and hadn't allowed two runs in a game since April 29. Jimmy Rollins led off with a double and scored on a triple by Shane Victorino. Chase Utley followed with a single, giving Papelbon more breathing room as he retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 19th save in 21 opportunities this season.
Papelbon struck out Carlos Gonzalez to end the game and showed his delight and his emotion with a little fist pump.
The winning pitcher was Vance Worley, who had never been on the mound at Coors Field, which didn't seem to faze him.
Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie, meanwhile, has struggled at Coors Field in his first season with Colorado. With a ruinous first inning, that pattern continued.
Guthrie gave up four runs in the first, three on Carlos Ruiz's home run. But by allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings, Guthrie actually lowered his ERA at Coors Field slightly from 9.44 to 9.23. Guthrie has lost six straight decisions. His last victory on May 31 is his only win this season at Coors Field where his record is 1-5 in eight games, including six starts.
Worley helped himself with a two-run opposite-field double to right with two out in the sixth off Adam Ottavino on an 0-2 pitch. When he came to the plate, Worley, who had an infield hit on a deflected ball in the second, was 1-for-23 with no RBI this season and 10-for-71 in his career with one double and five RBI.
Worley worked 6 2/3 innings, and the six runs the Phillies scored while he was on the mound were half the total they had scored with him in the game over his previous six starts, a stretch of 36 innings.
Worley gave up eight hits and two runs and threw 107 pitches, 60 strikes. He departed after Marco Scutaro singled in the seventh, and left-hander Jake Diekman came on to face Gonzalez. He lined Diekman's first pitch to left field, and Juan Pierre backtracked, turned and reached at the last moment to make the catch.
Michael Cuddyer came up with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth and the Rockies trailing 4-2. He worked the count to 3-2 against Worley but struck out, taking a big cut at but missing a high fastball.
The Phillies jumped on Guthrie for four runs in the first. Victorino, a .242 hitter whom Manuel moved into the second spot Friday night hoping that would spark him, doubled to right-center and scored on Utley's single.
Guthrie walked Howard on four pitches, and Carlos Ruiz drove Guthrie's 3-1 fastball over the fence in center for a three-run homer. It was the 14th homer of the season for Ruiz and the 19th allowed by Guthrie, who pitched 4 2/3 innings.
Worley walked Rutledge to open the third. After Guthrie's sacrifice, Dexter Fowler hit an opposite-field single to left that brought home Rutledge with his first career run scored.
After giving up four hits and four runs in that shaky first, Guthrie settled into a rhythm for three innings. He gave up an infield hit to Worley in the second, the ball deflecting from Guthrie to second baseman Marco Scutaro, who dropped it. But Guthrie got Rollins to ground into a double play.
Guthrie issued a one-out walk in the fourth to Pierre. He took off on a 1-2 pitch to Mike Fontenot and was easily cut down when the Rockies pitched out.
Rollins singled with one out in the fifth. Utley singled with two out, and Rollins took third when center fielder Fowler bobbled the ball. That was Guthrie's 76th pitch, the approximate limit for a starter in the Rockies four-man rotation, and manager Jim Tracy brought on left-hander Matt Reynolds to face cleanup hitter Howard.
In his first three games since coming back from a torn left Achilles tendon, Howard was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against left-handers, both Friday night against Christian Friedrich. Before Saturday's game, Manuel, talking about Howard against left-handers, said, "He was just jumping a little bit last night, kind of jumping out. He was having a hard time controlling his adrenaline. He'll be OK."
Reynolds ended that threat, getting Howard hit a bouncer back to him.
NOTES -- After Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay threw about 30 pitches, all fastballs and cutters as he typically does in his bullpen sessions during the season, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said he expected Halladay to start Tuesday at Los Angeles. Halladay said, "I felt good," but because he hadn't yet spoken with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., didn't want to say more. Dubee said, "I see much better length, much better extension, much better ease at getting to his far side, which would be away to a righty or in to a lefty -- which is generally the toughest one to throw." Halladay, who threw 61 pitches Thursday in a rehab start for high Class A Clearwater, last pitched for the Phillies on May 27 and has been sidelined with a strained muscle in his back. He will be on a pitch limit against the Dodgers, but Dubee declined to be specific...Manuel said with the Rockies starting left-hander Drew Pomeranz that Utley and Howard likely wouldn't start Sunday. ..Rockies shortstop Rutledge went 2-for-2 with two RBI in his major league debut. He's just the second player in franchise history to go 2-for-2 or better with at least two RBI in his first major league game. Derrick Gibson went 4-for-4 with two RBI in his major league debut Sept. 9, 1998...Rockies manager Jim Tracy said infielder Jonathan Herrera's shoulder soreness had subsided to the point where he could be used at second base Saturday night, but not on the left side of the infield, and could hit. Herrera pinch-hit in the fifth and singled and then left the game...Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (right hip inflammation) was feeling better after getting an anti-inflammatory injection Friday. Helton hopes he'll be ready when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list July 24...In the absence of Helton, Tracy has been playing Cuddyer, whose primary position is right field, at first base and Tyler Colvin in right field. Tracy said this alignment gives him the equivalent of three center fielders in spacious Coors Field...Phillies infielder-outfielder Laynce Nix (left calf strain) was scheduled to play five innings at first base Saturday night for Clearwater in his third game on a rehab assignment.