DENVER – There was no reason to expect anything less bizarre from this one-night stand in the middle of a pennant race. The Colorado Rockies interrupted a crucial road trip to return home for a day. The Phillies made a layover on their way home from a six-game West Coast swing. And the two teams convened for this makeup game Thursday night at Coors Field, where inexplicable baseball happenings occur more often than Charlie Manuel uses one of his favorite phrases, “What the hell?”
Indeed, what the hell?
Twelve Phillies batted in the seventh inning. Three of them homered, capped by Chase Utley’s grand slam. Nine of them scored. The Phillies won, 12-11, and gained a game on the first-place Atlanta Braves as the Phils finished a seven-game road trip 6-1.
Their prize? A red-eye flight home to Philadelphia – expected time of arrival 4 a.m. – with a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park to follow 15 hours later.
“I’m all wound up,” Manuel said.
Three hours and 51 minutes after it began, Placido Polanco fielded a grounder and barely beat Troy Tulowitzki to third base to end the game. Polanco raised his hands in the air. It was over. The two teams combined for 35 hits and 14 pitchers used.
Utley delivered the biggest blow as his grand slam put an exclamation point on an already ridiculous seventh inning. Utley had five RBIs in the seventh and tied a career high with six RBIs. In 15 previous games since coming off the disabled list Aug. 17, he had six RBIs. The home run was his first since June 18.
The Phillies tied a season high for runs in an inning. In addition to Utley’s blast, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth both homered.