Stairs' pinch-hit homer lifts Phillies over Rockies

BY foxsports • April 13, 2009

Matt Stairs showed why he's made a living as a pinch hitter.

Stairs hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

"That's a tough job to do, and he does it pretty good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Hitting a pinch-hit home run is pretty hard, especially when they know what kind of hitter he is.

Chase Utley tied it at 5 with a two-run homer in the eighth and Ryan Howard had three hits for the Phillies, who won the last two of the three-game series. Utley went 2-for-3 and scored three times.

It was the second time this season the Phillies rallied to win a game late. They overcame a 10-3 deficit to beat Atlanta 12-11 on Wednesday.

Ryan Madson (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge, the last of six Philadelphia pitchers, finished for his second save.

Dexter Fowler led off the second inning with his second homer to give Colorado a 5-1 lead. But Jayson Werth singled in Utley in the fourth and sixth, and the All-Star second baseman tied it with his first homer of the season in the eighth.

Pedro Feliz hit a leadoff double in the ninth against Huston Street (0-1). Feliz was sacrificed to third before Stairs, batting for Madson, went deep for his first of the season and 15th career pinch-hit drive.

"It's the same approach as in batting practice," Stairs said. "I try to hit every ball as far as I can."

Street said he tried to throw the pitch inside but it ran back over the plate.

"I didn't leave it up, it was down. When the pitch is down you're never really afraid, but he's a good fastball hitter," Street said. "When you don't hit the glove bad things happen."

Colorado put two men on in the ninth, but Lidge got Troy Tulowitzki to ground out to second to end the game.

"Once you get to two strikes, it's tough with that slider that he has," Tulowitzki said. "There's a reason why he didn't blow one last year."

The Rockies were limited to four hits by three Philadelphia pitchers in an 8-4 loss on Saturday. They reached that total in their first five at-bats Sunday. Brad Hawpe hit an RBI double and scored on Garrett Atkins' single. Clint Barmes added a two-run single to make it 4-0 in the first inning.

Chan Ho Park, who entered with a 5-2 career record at Coors Field, gave up five runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings for the Phillies. But the bullpen held the Rockies to two hits the rest of the way.

"We keep the team close and we know the hitters will score runs," Madson said. "We got a chance to show what the bullpen can do."

Philadelphia got one back in the second. Howard led off with a double and scored when Raul Ibanez's line drive up the middle hit pitcher Aaron Cook and rolled into shallow left field.

"I was trying to throw a cutter in and it sank back over the plate and a line drive right where my wallet is," Cook said. "It got all flesh."

Cook, who gave up seven runs in 2 1-3 innings in the season opener at Arizona, was sharper against the Phillies. He allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.


Manuel said LHP Cole Hamels will make his regular start Wednesday at Washington. ... Philadelphia will participate in its third opening day of 2009 when it begins a three-game series at Washington on Monday.

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