2011 Phillies Moments: #6 An unlikely hero

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jaime Garcia had the Phillis foiled, and it seemed they couldn’t do a single thing against the Cardinals left-hander.

That is, until they pinch-hit Ben Francisco in the 7th inning in hopes of sparking something for the offense. Francisco provided more than just a spark; he single-handedly won the game for the Phillies.

Though the post season was short lived, it didn’t lack in the memory department. Francisco’s blast is one of two moments that made this Top 10 list.

Garcia was cruising through the first six innings, allowing only a trio of singles. If the Phils couldn’t strike, who knew how long Cole Hamels and their bull pen could contain the eventual World Champion Cardinals powerful line up.

Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single, only his team’s fourth hit of the evening. With John Mayberry at the plate, sure-gloved catcher Yadier Molina let a pitch get past him and Victorino scampered safely to second. Mayberry and Placido Polanco proceeded to record outs, causing fans to worry Victorino was going to be stranded at second with no outs.

Tony LaRussa did the only move he could do: walk catcher Carlos Ruiz, a dangerous post season threat, and force Charlie Manuel to pull his starter Hamels from the game in hopes of some desperation offense. With Mayberry in the game, Manuel’s best option off the bench was Francisco.

Francisco stepped into the box to face Garcia. The first pitch he saw landed in the dirt, putting Francisco ahead in the count 1-0. The next pitch didn’t land in the dirt but instead landed in the Phillies bull pen, giving them a 3-0 lead in the 7th and giving them enough runs to hold on for a 3-2 win.

If it wasn’t for Francisco’s shot, the Cardinals score a run in the 7th inning and wouldn’t need to bat in the 9th. Garcia would most likely still be in the game or the bull pen, which shut down the Phils after Garcia’s one mistake, would have kept the Phillies off the scoreboard.

Granted the series was still won by St. Louis, Francisco gave Phillies fans hope, something the rest of the team didn’t provide in the next two games.


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