After the Phillies came back back from a two-run deficit, Brad Lidge imploded with two outs in the ninth and the Phillies lost Game 4 of the World Series 7-4.
Lidge allowed three runs after entering a 4-4 game. The Phils had tied it up after a seventh-inning dinger by Chase Utley off starter C.C. Sabathia and an eight-inning bomb by Pedro Feliz off Joba Chamberlain.
After retiring the first two batters, the hard-throwing right-hander fell apart. He nearly struck out Johnny Damon on a 2-2 pitch that barely missed.
Damon appeared to be on the ropes but he then lined a 3-2 pitch to left for a single. The speedy veteran then stole second on the first pitch to Mark Teixeira, got up after sliding and took third with no one covering because of an exaggerated shift.
Lidge proceeded to hit Teixeira with a pitch, bringing up Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod delivered with the biggest hit of his life, a go-ahead, two-out double in the ninth inning off Lidge.
Damon summed up the fight of the Yanks.
"I'm proud of our guys for battling with two outs against a tough pitcher," Damon said.
The Phightins hoped to fight back in the series.
"I think we take a lot of pride on being resilient and the way we bounce back," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "I've seen us go through it before. We've blown 22 games from the seventh inning on or something this year. That's got to tell you something about the resilience of our team."
Or it shed light on how bad Lidge was at closing games this season.
After being a perfect 48-for-48 (including the postseason) in save opportunities last season, this year was a disaster for Lidge. He led the majors with 11 blown saves and went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, temporarily losing his closer's job a couple times.
Despite his regular season troubles Lidge was 1-0 with three saves in three chances in the postseason. But, it was only a matter of time until Lidge lost it again.
The closer's implosion was reminiscent of former Phils closer Mitch Williams' World Series meltdowns in 1993 when Williams lost two games including the deciding Game 6. Ugh, Joe Carter!
The beleaguered pitcher was hopeful despite his performance.
"You always want to go out there and have good results," Lidge said. “Any time you don't do well, it's frustrating. Obviously, the guys did a great job coming back tonight. I really wish we could have come out with the win here. We've got to get back to New York and keep going. Hopefully I get another chance to get out there and get a win or a save for our team.”
For the second-straight night the game was shrouded in a controversial call.
Phillies slugger Ryan Howard scored a run to tie the game at two in the fourth. He just didn't touch the plate.
The play came the day after Rodriguez hit the first video-reviewed homer in World Series history. The Game-3 homer appeared to clank off a TV camera that was protruding over top of the right field wall.
As for Howard’s “run.” He came charging around third on a hit by Feliz. Catcher Jorge Posada couldn't hold on to left fielder Damon's throw as the 250-pound Howard hurled his body over the plate to make it 2-2. The ball shook loose of Posada's glove and rolled toward the dugout, allowing Feliz to advance to second.
Home plate ump Mike Everitt called the Phillies bulky slugger safe and no Yankee argued the call. But, replays showed that Howard never touched the plate.
The Yankees got the scoring started in the first inning off Phils righty Joe Blanton. Derek Jeter led off with an infield single before Johnny Damon knocked a double to put two on.
Jeter would then score on a groundout by Teixiera. Damon came home on a sac fly by Posada.
The Phillies got one back in the bottom of the first when Utley knocked home Shane Victorino with an RBI double.
The Yankees took a 4-2 lead in the fifth after back-to-back RBI singles by Jeter and Damon.
Chamberlain, despite giving up the homer earned his first postseason win for the Yankees. Mariano "The Hammer of God" Rivera pulled an anti-Lidge and recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn yet another postseason save.
The question after the game was how much fight the Phightin Phils had left. They will turn to Cliff Lee in Game 5 Monday with the hope of taking the series back to the Bronx for Game 6.
Source: NBC10 News