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Phils pick a winner in Denver

John Mayberry’s catch of a low throw seals the Phillies’ 10-9 victory in the series finale.

The Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. (David Zalubowski/AP)
The Phillies' John Mayberry Jr. (David Zalubowski/AP)Read more

DENVER - One of his teammates jabbed at him for his robotic, unemotional answers to the media's questions. Another picked on his sense of fashion.

But John Mayberry Jr., who wore an ascot with his suit as he boarded a plane out of Denver bound for Los Angeles, took it in stride. Everyone is allowed to have a little fun at his expense when it comes after a victory, especially a victory that was preceded by two defeats in which the Phillies scored a total of two runs at the hitter's haven that is Coors Field.

With the tying run in scoring position and two outs in the ninth inning of a one-run game, Mayberry picked a low throw out of the dirt from third baseman Freddy Galvis and managed to hold the bag, too, as the Phillies held on for a 10-9 victory over the Colorado Rockies yesterday.

"Hell of a pick in that situation," manager Ryne Sandberg said of Mayberry's play.

In a game with runs aplenty and the momentum seemingly shifting with each half-inning, it was only fitting that the final out wasn't official until a replay review confirmed that Mayberry had in fact held the bag.

"You have to fight until the last out," Mayberry said. "This is definitely a hitter-friendly park. You can't nail it down until the end."

Runs usually come in bunches at Coors Field, with the Phillies' two futile performances in the first two games of their series in Denver this weekend being the rare exception.

On the third day, the Phillies' offense rose and the two teams played an Easter Sunday contest that was much more like people are accustomed to watching at the 20-year-old ballpark. The teams combined for 19 runs on 30 hits.

Saving a run, then, often can be crucial and sometimes game-saving - as it was with Mayberry's ninth-inning play.

Two more came in the sixth inning, when Colorado was up by a run.

With Jordan Pacheco on third and no one out, pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson hit a ball back through the middle against reliever B.J. Rosenberg. Jimmy Rollins ranged to his left, dived and got hold of the ball.

"Home," Chase Utley yelled.

The four-time Gold Glove shortstop quickly changed directions and fired home. Rollins got Pacheco in a rundown that ended with the lead runner out between home and third.

After Galvis applied the tag, he threw the ball to Utley to get Dickerson. After a review, confirming Utley's belief that Dickerson's foot came off the bag, he was called out, too.

Both Rollins and Ryan Howard homered - Howard also flirted with a cycle - but the Phillies' ability to erase two baserunners in the sixth inning was vital in securing a win before departing Coors Field.

Fittingly, the inning ended with another stellar, rally-killing defensive play. After Rosenberg walked back-to-back batters, Jake Diekman entered and induced a high, one-hopper that Galvis somehow got to and threw to first base in time to nab Carlos Gonzalez. If Galvis doesn't make that play, Troy Tulowitzki would have hit with the bases loaded.

No one in the Phillies' dugout wanted to see that. Tulowitzki would finish the three-game series 8-for-10 with six RBI.

"We didn't give them any extra outs," Rollins said. "We haven't been great in that department [this year]. But today, I'm glad we were stingy."

If baseball had a plus-minus stat as is employed in ice hockey, Rollins (3-for-4) would at worst have had a plus-four on the afternoon.

In addition to his run-saving play in the sixth on defense, Rollins collected the go-ahead hit in the eighth. With the game tied at 8-8, Galvis led off with a single and circled the bases when Ben Revere and Rollins added singles of their own. The Phils scored two times in the inning, equaling their output from the previous two games.

The Phillies' anemic offense entered the game without an extra-base hit in four straight games, going back 6 days earlier to Domonic Brown's eighth-inning, go-ahead home run against the Braves last Monday. Rollins helped turn that tide, too, sending the sixth pitch he saw from Rockies starter Juan Nicasio out to right for a home run to begin the day's scoring in the first inning.

"It kind of set that tone right off the bat," Sandberg said. "With the last five games that we played, maybe we're going to get some hits, a lot of hits, and put some runs up on the board."

In danger of becoming the first Phillies team to go five straight games without an extra-base hit since 1927, the Phillies banged out seven extra-base hits yesterday. After failing to hit a sacrifice fly in their first 17 games - the only major league team that hadn't had one yet - the Phils had three yesterday within a two-inning span.

Despite all of their work on offense and defense, the Phils' chances at escaping Colorado without getting swept nearly went up in smoke thanks to the bullpen.

In the seventh inning, with the Phils up 8-6, Justin Morneau hit his second home run in as many days to tie the game. It was the second game-crushing homer Diekman had served up in 7 days.

An inning later, Charlie Blackmon hit a solo run off Antonio Bastardo to bring the Rockies within a run at 10-9. With the tying and go-ahead runs on base later in the inning, Bastardo rebounded by striking out Morneau to end the Rockies' threat.

But a scoring threat was always one batter away at Coors Field yesterday, and Blackmon was back at the plate at inning later with the tying run on second. Jonathan Papelbon got him to bounce out to Galvis, Mayberry held the bag and the Phillies escaped.

"A Coors Field special," Sandberg said.

Papelbon has recorded five straight saves - and six straight scoreless appearances - since his implosion in Arlington, Texas, in the first week of the season.