October 12, 2009
Score and situation: Phillies 5, Rockies 4, Philadelphia wins series 3-1, advances to NLCS
Leading lads: The champs are never down until they're officially out and never has that seemed more true than Monday night in Denver. With the Rockies one out away from forcing a decisive Game 5 back east, the WFC Phillies staged a memorable ninth inning rally behind a two-RBI double from Ryan Howard(notes) (above) and a go-ahead RBI single from Jayson Werth(notes) that stood up as the game-winner. The comeback to Colorado's comeback — the Rockies had scored three in the bottom of the eighth inning — was exactly the type of play you'd see from a title team and makes you wonder if it's a foregone conclusion the Fightins' will brew their October magic for the second fall in a row.
Both of the players mentioned above were absolute monsters in the series win, but we also have to mention Cliff Lee(notes), who turned in his second great start of the postseason and Shane Victorino(notes), who got the Phillies on the board early with a first inning home run and was one of the runners aboard when Howard doubled.
Head hanger: Colorado closer Huston Street(notes) took the loss for the second night in a row as his blown save sent the Rockies home for a winter of watching the Broncos. Bullpens win titles and if you doubt that, my colleague Scott Pianowski points out that all four eliminated teams had a ninth-inning blown save within their short postseason resumes.
Key play: Werth's single, which he also paired with a go-ahead homer in the sixth. The Phillies' right fielder had a great series, batting .357 with two homers, four RBIs and five runs.
Key stat: The Phillies won both games in Colorado and are 50-33 on the road in 2009.
What they're talking about: They're no doubt already talking about Hollywood and Rodeo Drive in Philadelphia, but expect a huge dose of chatter about Brad Lidge(notes) — who closed out his second straight save on Monday — and the team's core of offensive superstars who keep coming through time and time again in the postseason.
What they're saying:
"These couple of games have been kind of character builders." — Howard
What's next: The Phillies dance with the Dodgers again in the NLCS, which starts Thursday night in Los Angeles. Philadelphia won last season's series in five games and also faced off in the NLCS during the 1977, '78 and '83 seasons.