THAT was a statement game!
The Phils, stymied and moribund through eight innings, rallied dramatically in the ninth inning with two outs to stun the Florida Marlins in their first meeting of the season and send a message to the young Fish just exactly who the veteran, defending World Championship team is.
With another Phillies starter struggling and the bats on extended holiday, the Phils looked dead in the water, especially against Josh Johnson, one of the best young starters in the game. Johnson played his part perfectly and handed the Marlins' pen a 3-0 lead. I had just tuned into the game in the top of the eighth, looked at the score and stats and had chalked this one up in the loss column. The only reason I continued to "watch" was I was doing something else on the computer and left the game running on the television in the background. I wasn't paying close attention to say the least.
By the time the game resumed in my fading consciousness, the Phils had scored one run, had the bases loaded and two outs. J-Roll was at the plate. He took a few pitches for balls and seemed to be patiently waiting, but then he leaned over the plate a little, chased a ball high and away and popped it high to the left side, just as he has been wont to do for much of this young season. The game's outcome drifted with the ball as it reached the seats. Granted a reprieve, especially from the blogosphere, Jimmy worked a walk to force in a run and draw to within one run. Then came Shane Victorino's dramatic grand slam, followed by a solo shot from Chase Utley. Suddenly, the Phils were up 7-3, which turned out to be the final score.
The victim of all this drama was Matt Lindstron, who looked as stunned and distraught as I have ever seen a pitcher, sitting on the bench after the flood rubbing his head, staring blankly ahead. Frankly, he looked like a guy who might never recover.
I started to feel for him but quickly realized I was happy. No time for pitying the Fish. The Phils had delivered a stunning knock-out punch in the first encounter.