After the top of the ninth inning, the Phillies trailed 7-3, when pinch hitter Matt Stairs was sent up to face Pirates reliever Matt Capps. He promptly greeted Capps with a home run. Still down 3, the Phils refused to quit. Jimmy Rollins walked and then stole second base. Chase Utley then sliced a single, moving Rollins to third. For as bleak as it looked at the beginning of the inning, it looked a whole lot better. “We have a chance,” people said.
Well, with Ryan Howard’s bomb, the game was tied and the rally continued. Everyone across the Delaware Valley knew that the Phillies would pull this one out. Raul Ibanez, who had just returned from his groin injury, hit a ground rule double to center. The next batter, Jayson Werth, was then intentionally walked. Pedro Feliz hit a little infield dribbler and nobody could get to the ball and throw him out at time, loading the bases for Paul Bako.
Bako ripped a 2-2 offering into left field to win the game and become an unlikely hero. What started out as an inning of doubt, turned into a wild party of celebration.
The Phillies had previously cut a 5-0 second inning deficit into three six inning runs before the Pirates answered back in the next half inning with two more runs of their own.
Personal story: I was at my sister’s 21st birthday party at the house, not really knowing what was going on with the game until I walked through the living room and saw we were down 7-3 sometime in the late innings. Then John texted me that Howard had tied the game and whoever was still left at the party moved from the backyard into the house, watching the final few batters. When Bako hit that liner to left, the whole house went nuts like we won a playoff game (alcohol probably helped). But it was still a fun ending regardless.
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