Harry the K Starts the Year Smiling!
The bats showed up late, but they showed up big in a dramatic 5-4 comeback victory over the Astros, capped by John Mayberry Jr.'s walk-off single.
Astros closer Brandon Lyon allowed singles to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Raul Ibanez popped up for the first out. Rollins stole third to put runners at the corners, and Ben Francisco singled to left-center field to score Rollins and cut Houston's lead to 4-3.
Carlos Ruiz crushed an 0-1 pitch foul before he singled to left field to load the bases.
Wilson Valdez, who replaced Chase Utley in the lineup, followed with another single to center to score Howard and tie the game.
The Phillies were on their way.
Mayberry, who made his first Opening Day roster, followed with a long single over drawn-in center fielder Michael Bourn's head to bring in the winning run.
The late rally made up for not taking advantage of a good start from Halladay. Halladay leads one of the greatest starting rotations ever assembled (on paper, anyway). And he pitched well. He allowed just five hits and one run and struck out six in six innings. But the Astros forced him to throw 101 pitches, which forced him from the game.
The Phillies didn't make Astros right-hander Brett Myers work nearly as hard. He threw just 85 pitches through seven innings, keeping hitters off balance the entire way. In fact, Myers did not get one Phillies hitter to swing and miss at a pitch until Francisco swung and missed at a ball in the seventh inning.
Halladay left the game trailing 1-0, and the Astros tacked on three runs in the seventh. J.C. Romero allowed a leadoff single to Brett Wallace to get things started. David Herndon then allowed a single to Humberto Quintero and a triple to Bourn to make it 3-0. Bourn scored on Angel Sanchez's sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
The Phillies cut the lead to 4-2 in the seventh. Placido Polanco walked and Rollins singled with nobody out. They moved up a base on a passed ball. Polanco scored on Howard's sacrifice fly, and Rollins scored on a fielder's choice.