The Phillies seemed very aware that the Milwaukee Brewers had been unbeatable with late-inning leads this season.
Derrick Turnbow and Francisco Cordero? Game over.
But the Phillies blew up that invincibility when they scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning tonight in an 8-6 victory over the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. The Brewers, who have the best record in the National League, had been 21-0 when leading after the seventh inning. The Phillies had been 1-15 when trailing after seven.
"We beat teams like this and it gives us confidence because it's like, hey, we beat the best," said Wes Helms, whose single off the right-field wall in the eighth handed the Phillies the lead. "That's going to give you confidence and that's what we can roll with.
"When you beat guys who are last in the division, you don't really think about it. But when you beat guys that are first it's like, we can do this. I think you'll see a little bit of confidence around here, a little different air tomorrow when guys come to the clubhouse. This can get a team going."
The Phillies, who have won four of their last five to improve to 18-20, have had a flair for the dramatic lately. Ryan Howard hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh inning Wednesday in a 9-3 victory over Arizona. The Phillies then scored six runs in the seventh inning in Saturday's 11-7 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
"We didn't give up," Helms said.
Lefthander Jamie Moyer allowed five runs in 61/3 innings and Geoff Geary allowed another run in the seventh to hand the Brewers a 6-2 lead entering the eighth. But Brewers lefthander Brian Shouse allowed a single to Aaron Rowand and a double to Shane Victorino to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Brewers manager Ned Yost wasn't comfortable. He removed Shouse for setup man Derrick Turnbow, who was 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 16 appearances this season. He had walked six and struck out 23 in 151/3 innings. Opponents had hit just .151 against him.
Turnbow walked Jimmy Rollins in a seven-pitch at-bat to load the bases and then uncorked a wild pitch to score Rowand to make it 6-3. Chase Utley singled to center on a 2-0 fastball to score both runners, making it 6-5.
"He started throwing a lot of fastballs," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was having trouble getting his splitter over. After Utley got that hit, he didn't throw many splitters after that. He tried to overpower us after that, and we had quick enough sticks to get to him."
After Pat Burrell flied out for the first out, Greg Dobbs and Abraham Nunez both singled to load the bases. Carlos Ruiz then chopped a ball to first baseman Prince Fielder. There was no chance at a double play, so Fielder threw home.
Utley slid to beat the throw. Game tied, 6-6.
"It looked like Ruiz blinded him a bit," Helms said. "It just proves that if you put the ball in play, you have a chance."
But Turnbow's nightmare wasn't over. Helms, who said the Phillies were "shocked" that Turnbow stayed in the game, almost hit his first homer of the season. He ripped a ball off the right-field wall for a long single that scored Dobbs to make it 7-6.
Rowand's sacrifice fly to center scored Nunez for an 8-6 lead.
"Turnbow was pretty much down the middle," Yost said. "It happens."
Brett Myers threw a perfect ninth inning to pick up his fourth save in four opportunities. Myers has a 0.58 ERA in 13 appearances since he moved into the bullpen.
But it was the offense that saved the day.
"We had a lot of good at-bats," Utley said. "Jimmy had a great at-bat to work the walk. It started with Aaron. It was kind of a roller-coaster inning. This was a full team effort. Everybody contributed. Everybody did a good job."