Rollins part of Phillies' winning effort
IT BEGAN with a boo. In the second act of a fifth inning that saw the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds score a combined seven runs, Jimmy Rollins struck out looking to begin the bottom half of the frame.
IT BEGAN with a boo.
In the second act of a fifth inning that saw the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds score a combined seven runs, Jimmy Rollins struck out looking to begin the bottom half of the frame.
It was Rollins' 20th straight at-bat without a hit, dating back to Thursday in Milwaukee, the day Charlie Manuel had to talk the team's longest-tenured player about running out ground balls. The strikeout, which was followed by a cascade of boos from the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park, was Rollins' seventh in those 20 hitless at-bats.
When the Phillies rallied to win their first of five consecutive National League East titles 5 years ago, and during most of the next four seasons that followed, the popular mantra repeated through the clubhouse was that as Jimmy Rollins goes, so go the Phillies.
But on a pleasant August night in the middle of a lost season for the Phillies and another declining year for the longtime leadoff hitter, the team didn't go the way of the slumping Rollins. Instead, the Phillies batted around in the fifth, scored four times and kept on hitting for the rest of the night en route to a 12-5 win.
"Just about everybody in the lineup hit," Manuel said of his team's 15-hit night. "We did some things right."
After Ryan Howard and Erik Kratz slugged solo home runs to help the Phils keep pace with Cincinnati in the first four innings, nearly everyone else in the lineup chipped in during the four-run fifth.
Following Rollins' strikeout, Juan Pierre banged out one of his three hits on the night, Chase Utley split the left-center gap with a run-scoring double, John Mayberry Jr. made the Reds pay for intentionally walking Howard with an RBI single and Domonic Brown ripped a two-run double to right. Mayberry added a two-run home run in the sixth inning, the third home run for the Phils on Monday night and the seventh run they scored in a two-inning span.
"Everyone contributed, except me," Roy Halladay said with a laugh. "Honestly, for me, that was one of the best offensive games we've had all year. It seemed like everyone was involved . . . that was nice to see."
Brown, who figures to have a starting outfield job in 2013, has two doubles and six RBI in his last two games; he's hitting .281 with four walks in his last eight games.
"He's just starting," Manuel said. "He's going to hit. If he starts catching more balls up front, like the swings he's put on in the last couple of games, it's just a matter of time before he starts using his power."
Mayberry had three hits and has homered twice in his last three games.
Even Halladay, who allowed 10 hits, showed signs of his Cy Young Award winning-self. He retired eight straight in the midst of an up-and-down start.
The Phillies' third straight win, which moved them to eight games under .500 for the second time in 6 days, provided positive signs moving forward, including the unlikely rise of Kratz. The 32-year-old Lansdale native reached base in each of his first four trips to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly in his fifth.
But, then there was Rollins.
Rollins is hitting .194 (27-for-139) in the 35 games the Phils have played since the All-Star break. Entering Monday, his on-base percentage was a ghastly .270 since the break.
Rollins, who was booed from the South Philly faithful when his hitless streak ran to 19 straight with a ground out in the second and then again in the fifth, put a brief end to his skid with a double to begin the sixth.
"He hadn't had a hit in a while - he needed one," Manuel said. "He needs some more."
"He hit some balls hard in Milwaukee, but he couldn't get a hit," Manuel said of Rollins' recent hitless stretch.
Rollins' overall, downward-trending offensive numbers lead one to wonder whether the 2012 season will be the last that Manuel writes Rollins' name atop his batting order. The easy answer before was that the Phils won with Rollins in the leadoff spot. A losing season might be the perfect excuse to make a change in 2013.
The victory was career No. 195 for Roy Halladay. Among active pitchers, only Andy Pettitte (243) has more wins . . . Placido Polanco went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in his first game since July 23. Polanco (back) was activated from the disabled list before the game . . . Reds reserve and former Phil Wilson Valdez got a hearty ovation when he pinch-hit to lead off the ninth. Valdez, a Phillies fan favorite as a super-utility infielder the last two seasons, struck out looking against Josh Lindblom . . . Following the game, lefthanded reliever Jeremy Horst went on paternity leave. Righthander Phillippe Aumont was called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley. Aumont, one of the three prospects the Phils got in the December 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle, was 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 41 games at Lehigh.