Tyler Colvin scores go-ahead run in 11th to lift Cubs past Phillies
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com June 10, 2011 12:32AM
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol celebrates after Chase Utley flied out to left to end the game. | H. Rumph Jr~AP
Updated: September 22, 2011 12:32AM
PHILADELPHIA — It shouldn’t come as a shock that even the occasional victory for the Cubs these days comes the hard way.
Especially with their lineup ravaged by injuries and especially in a place such as Philadelphia against the top team in the National League.
But this was ridiculous: windstorms, extra innings, five calls to the bullpen, ninth-inning comebacks, home runs taken away by the review booth and leaning on a guy who went hitless in 34 straight at-bats to come up big late.
‘‘That was a tough game. We battled all night. It feels good,’’ said Tyler Colvin, who scored the winning run in the 11th on a two-out throwing error as the Cubs beat the Phillies 4-3 in the opener of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
It was the Cubs’ second consecutive win after eight losses in a row and their third extra-inning game on a road trip that started a week ago in St. Louis.
‘‘What a night for the bullpen —golly,’’ manager Mike Quade said of a five-man procession that put together 82/3 scoreless innings after a third-inning windstorm (followed by rain) delayed the game more than an hour.
But for all the unlikely heroes for the Cubs, the unlikeliest might have been Colvin, who was mired in an 0-for-34 skid until appearing to hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning. It came moments after Geovany Soto tied the game with a one-out shot off Phillies closer Ryan Madson.
‘‘Is that irony?’’ Quade said. ‘‘I can’t even spell it.’’
Not that Colvin got the winning homer. Long after Colvin was in the dugout on what originally was called a homer that a fan reached to catch, a video review reversed the call. The result was a double. Colvin, who agreed with the call, was stranded.
But then he led off the 11th with an infield hit to first, took second on a passed ball and scored when third baseman Placido Polanco short-armed a throw to first on Darwin Barney’s two-out grounder. Colvin never hesitated as he hit third and headed home as the ball caromed off first baseman Ryan Howard.
‘‘It’s two outs right there,’’ he said. ‘‘All you’ve got to do is keep running.’’
‘‘Having fun playing the game and being able to contribute is huge,’’ Quade said of Colvin. ‘‘You hope that has a chance to get him kick-started.’’
But if they thought this one was tough, wait until they get a load of the storm brewing for Colvin and the injury-ravaged Cubs lineup the next three games: former 20-game winners Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt waiting in order.
‘‘Awesome. That’s what it’s all about,’’ said Ryan Dempster, the only Cubs starter to win a game in more than two weeks. ‘‘That’s a fun challenge right there: try and make them all losers for three games.’’
That’s one way to look at it, especially considering Halladay has lost all three career decisions against the Cubs.
Another way to look at it: Duck!
Even with their first set of consecutive wins since May 18-19 in Florida, this was only the third time this month they’ve scored more than two runs. And they haven’t topped four since May 30.
‘‘I don’t need to tell you about their rotation,’’ Quade said. ‘‘All I can do is concern myself with having this club play as good as they can play and pitch it as good as we can and buckle up for hopefully some tight ballgames that we can find a way to win.
‘‘You realize you better play good baseball. You better not be giving people extra outs and everything else.’’