Howard, Phils rally in 9th to reach NLCS
DENVER – Chase Utley ducked near second base. The rest of the Philadelphia Phillies never flinched.
Ryan Howard hit a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning and scored on Jayson Werth’s single as Philadelphia rallied past the Colorado Rockies 5-4 Monday night to reach the NL championship series.
Brad Lidge earned his second consecutive save, once again retiring cleanup batter Troy Tulowitzki with two on to end it. Tulowitzki, who flied out to conclude Game 3, struck out this time and the Phillies celebrated on the infield at chilly Coors Field before retreating to the clubhouse to spray champagne.
Next, the World Series champions play Thursday night against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium in an NLCS rematch from last season. This marked the fourth straight year that none of baseball’s first-round series went to a winner-take-all Game 5.
After Dexter Fowler’s hurdle of Utley sparked Colorado’s three-run rally in the eighth, Howard and the Phillies responded with a three-run rally of their own in the ninth against closer Huston Street.
The Rockies looked as though they were going to send the series back to Philadelphia when Yorvit Torrealba’s two-run double broke a 2-all tie in the bottom of the eighth. That came after Fowler scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Jason Giambi’s two-out single off Ryan Madson.
Fowler hurdled Utley, who stepped into the basepath to field Todd Helton’s slow grounder, and his quick flip to second base was wide right and mishandled for an error by shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
That put two on for Tulowitzki, and Madson relieved starter Cliff Lee in a double-switch that also brought in left fielder Ben Francisco to replace Raul Ibanez.
It paid an immediate dividend when Francisco raced in and made a diving catch of Tulowitzki’s bloop to left for the second out. But Francisco couldn’t get to Giambi’s single fast enough to keep Fowler from scoring the tying run from second base.
Then, Torrealba sent a two-run double to the gap in right-center for a 4-2 Rockies lead.
Street, who was 35 of 37 on save chances but blew one in the ninth in Game 3, when he allowed Howard’s sacrifice fly to break a 5-all tie, came in and got a quick out before things fell apart again.
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