Denver Chase Utley ducked near second base. The rest of the Philadelphia Phillies never flinched.
Ryan Howard hit a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning and scored on Jayson Werth’s single as Philadelphia rallied past the Colorado Rockies, 5-4, in Game 4 on Monday to reach the NL championship series.
Brad Lidge, bouncing back from a ragged regular season, earned his second consecutive save by again retiring cleanup batter Troy Tulowitzki with runners on first and second for the final out.
Tulowitzki, who flied out to end Game 3, struck out this time and the Phillies celebrated on the infield at chilly Coors Field before retreating to the clubhouse to spray champagne .
“I can’t see and it hurts,” Howard said. “But it hurts good.”
Next, the World Series champions play Thursday night against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium in an NLCS rematch from last season. This marked the fourth straight year that none of baseball’s first-round series went to a winner-take-all Game 5.
“These couple of games have been kind of character builders,” Howard said. “This is just step two of where we’re trying to get to.”
After Dexter Fowler’s hurdle of Utley sparked Colorado’s three-run rally in the eighth, Howard and the Phillies responded with a three-run rally of their own against closer Huston Street.
Street was 35 of 37 on save chances this season, but took the loss in Game 3 when he allowed Howard’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“We had gotten to Huston Street the night before, so we knew we had a shot to make some things happen,” Howard said.
Colorado had lost just once all season when leading after eight innings.