I take it all back, Raul. You are swift afoot, sure-handed, with a quick bat.
Last night the much-maligned (especially in this space) left-fielder crushed a ball in the tenth inning for a walk-off home run that propelled the Phils to a 3-2 victory over Atlanta in the opener of a crucial three-game series.
The other hero of the night was even more improbable: journeyman pitcher Juan Perez struck out the side in the top of the tenth inning on nine pitches. That's right, fans, the minimum number of pitches to retire the side. Atlanta's contributors to this rare event were Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Wilkin Ramirez.
Roy Halladay started for the Phils and allowed Atlanta's two runs in seven innings of work. The Phils hit the ball well all night, totaling eleven hits, but had little to show for it before Ibanez' extra-innings heroics.
The win extends the Phils' lead over the Braves to 3.5 games insuring they will hold onto first place by the All Star break. Game two is this afternoon. A fellow named Lee faces a fellow named Hanson.