Phillies-Astros: Wild Ninth-Inning Comeback for the Phils

Bruce SmithCorrespondent IApril 16, 2008


It was that kind of a 58-degree night in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Houston, when Jenkins reached first on a whiff and then wheeled his 215-pound frame from first to home on a double down the left-field line to cap an unlikely four-run, ninth-inning rally.

Jenkins fanned on the 11th pitch of a duel with Astros closer Jose Valverde, then dashed to first when the ball skipped past catcher Brad Ausmus and ended up by the Phillies' dugout halfway up the first-base line. Two pitches later, Pedro Feliz stroked his third hit of the game, a double into the left-field corner, and Jenkins began his dash.

Not the fastest man on the planet, Jenkins thought about home plate.

"Anytime you see the ball hit inside the bag down the line, you're first thought is, 'Let's go as fast as you can,'" Jenkins said. "That type of the play, you're going full-bore."

Left-fielder Carlos Lee fielded the ball cleanly and fired a throw to Miguel Tejada, who has one of the quickest and most accurate relay arms in the league. Knowing this, third-base coach Steve Smith put up the stop sign that Jenkins never saw.

Initially waving Jenkins around, Smith changed that after he saw Lee cleanly field the ball and throw a strike to Tejada.

When did Smith see that he missed the sign?

"When he went by me," Smith said. "I guess at [USC], where he went to school, they didn't teach to look twice. He never saw me. The next time on a close play, I'll let him make the call."

"Clearly, there was no stopping me at third," Jenkins said, with a laugh. "I was just running full speed, so I put might head down. I guess it was the right move."

Ausmus appeared to receive the throw and tag Jenkins before he reached the plate, but home-plate umpire Bill Miller signaled safe.

To get the game to that point, the Phillies needed clutch hitting from newly added outfielder Chris Snelling, who broke the seal with a pinch-hit, ninth-inning home run off Valverde.

The Phillies had done nothing against Shawn Chacon, who stifled them on four hits in eight scoreless innings. Snelling launched Valverde's first pitch into the seats in right.

"I asked [manager Charlie Manuel] before that at-bat, 'Are we taking a strike?'" Snelling said. "He said, 'You're swinging away.'"

Chase Utley was then hit by a pitch and scored on Pat Burrell's game-tying home run to right.

"We were asleep for eight innings," Burrell said.

Added Manuel: "Snelling woke us up and we took off from there."

Throwing mostly fastballs, Chacon didn't allow a runner past second base, and the Phillies squandered that chance in the sixth, when the first two batters reached. Greg Dobbs struck out, Jayson Werth popped out and Carlos Ruiz grounded to short.

In the bottom of the ninth, none of the offensive futility mattered, and Jenkins not seeing the sign worked out well for the Phillies.

"That was a good ninth inning, wasn't it?" Manuel said.

"The crowd is going berserk, and it's a great feeling until you finally get to home," Jenkins said. "Once you're safe, it's a tremendous feeling. When you come back with four runs in the ninth, it's pretty special."

The dramatic finish took Adam Eaton from a tough loss to a no-decision, as the righty turned in his third quality start of the season.