If one were to poll every fan among the season-high crowd of 45,312 at Citizens Bank Park yesterday, some would say that the most important moment in the Phillies' latest win came when Pat Burrell stroked a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning.
Others would point to Geoff Jenkins' pinch-hit, two-run homer, which tied the game in the sixth.
Both two-out hits were crucial as the Phillies - the first-place Phillies - came back from a four-run deficit to beat the Florida Marlins, 7-5, and give Jamie Moyer his 236th career win, tying him with a pretty good lefty named Whitey Ford.
But there was a moment shortly after Burrell's big hit that figured almost as large in the Phils' ninth win in 12 games, and if you blinked you might have missed it.
Reliever Tom Gordon, called upon to protect the lead in the eighth, walked the first batter he faced, pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez, on five pitches, and the crowd began to get loud and antsy.
Gordon then threw two straight balls to dangerous Hanley Ramirez, the potential tying run.
That was enough for Jimmy Rollins, who trotted in from shortstop and let Gordon have it.
"He got on my ass," Gordon said. "He said, 'What the heck are you doing? Throw strikes. Babe Ruth's dead.' "
Rollins' little pep talk worked. Gordon turned into a different pitcher. He threw three straight fastballs and struck out Ramirez. He then retired Jeremy Hermida on a pop-up and Jorge Cantu on a fly ball to make everyone in the ballpark breathe easier.
Brad Lidge overpowered the Marlins for his 13th save in the ninth, but on this day, the best relief pitching was done by Gordon - with an assist from Rollins.
"After he talked to me, I just tried to be as nasty as I can," Gordon said.
Rollins didn't actually invoke Babe Ruth's name during his trip to the mound. Gordon made that up because he thought it sounded good, and he was right. It's a cool quote. As for what was actually said, Rollins didn't have full recall.
"I don't know what I said, but it made sense to him," Rollins said. "It was an important inning. I told him if he didn't get out of it, I was going to talk about him. I just challenged him a little bit. We have respect for each other, and I knew there was a chance I could strike a chord with him."
The victory gave the Phils two wins in three games against the Marlins, who arrived Friday leading the National League East by a half-game.
Leading up to the series, players on both sides tossed out clichés about it being early in the season, etc. No one wanted to go overboard talking about the importance of the series when the teams still have 15 games remaining against each other.
Gordon was refreshingly candid in talking about the series and taking two of three.
"Guys downplayed it, but that's a good club and they came in here in first place," he said. "You recognize the importance of it. There's no doubt if they won the series we'd have been disappointed."
The Phils had just six hits in the game, but made them count.
Ryan Howard had an RBI single in the first inning and Chase Utley smacked his 20th homer in the third, after Rollins scored on an error.
Even manager Charlie Manuel made his moves count. He bypassed the best pinch-hitter in the game, Greg Dobbs, to use Jenkins against righthander Doug Waechter in the sixth. Jenkins, who had been 0 for 9 on the season as a pinch-hitter, responded with a two-run homer to right.
"I told [bench coach] Jimy Williams that I had a good feel about Jenkins on that guy," Manuel said. "It was a good win for us."