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PHILLIES FYI

Is Chase Utley the new Wild Thing?

The Phillies' second baseman has made three wild throws in three games against the Dodgers, although first baseman Ryan Howard was able to save him from an error on Sunday.

October 20, 2009|Ben Bolch

PHILADELPHIA — In the Philadelphia dugout, the ninth-inning protocol dictated that players position themselves for another late rally.

"Everyone was yelling, 'Same seat, same dumb thought,' " said reliever Scott Eyre.

So when Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate with two runners on, two outs and the Phillies trailing the Dodgers by a run Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, this was Eyre's dumb thought:

Come on, Jimmy. Come on, Jimmy. Come on, Jimmy.

The leadoff hitter came through, hitting a two-run double into the gap in right-center field off Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to lift the Phillies to a heart-thumping 5-4 victory in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

It was just another improbable rally for the Phillies, who also came back for a pair of victories against the Colorado Rockies in the division series.

"As long as you believe in good things," Rollins said, "good things will continue to happen."

Rollins thrust his arms into the air in triumph and was mobbed in the infield by his teammates after hitting a 99-mph fastball over the plate on a 1-1 pitch.

"He threw it right where I was looking, and I got the result I wanted," Rollins said.

Phillies players celebrated by sipping Don Julio tequila after Rollins completed their latest rally.

Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs got things started with one out when he walked on four pitches.

"When I stepped in the batter's box I had one thing in my mind and that was to go for the Budweiser sign," said Stairs, who hit a decisive two-run homer off Broxton last year in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS.

But Broxton pitched around Stairs and hit Carlos Ruiz with his next pitch, putting two runners on with one out.

The closer retired pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs on a soft line drive to third baseman Casey Blake.

As Rollins stepped to the plate against one of baseball's most airtight closers, the Phillies still liked their chances.

"It doesn't matter who's pitching or what the score is," said Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge. "We believe we're going to come back."

Rollins fouled off an inside fastball and then took another fastball before he delivered his team's latest clutch hit.

"You face that guy 10 times," Stairs said of Broxton, "and he's going to get you nine because he has a great fastball and an unbelievable slider."

In the dugout, Lidge said he and setup man Ryan Madson actually visualized the final play before it happened.

"In our minds we were trying to visualize where the ball was going to go and it went there," Lidge said. "It was pretty amazing."

Not that the winning hit surprised Rollins.

"It's just belief," he said. "We believe in ourselves. We believe in our ability. We know that there's 27 outs."

--

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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