Mayberry Walk-Off Grand Slam Lifts Phillies to 7-3 Win Over Marlins
PHILADELPHIA—As John Mayberry Jr., rounded third, he stared down the red pinstriped mob waiting 90 feet away, flipped his helmet, let out a roar and burrowed his head.
That's what celebrating a walk-off grand slam looks like.
How does it feel?
“It feels pretty good, I can't lie to you,” said Mayberry after vaulting his Phillies to a 7-3 win over the Marlins in 11 innings at Citizens Bank Park tonight. “It's definitely a first, so it'll definitely be one of the days I remember forever.”
It could be one of the nights you remember come October.
But a few outs from the clutches of another deflating loss to a lowly opponent, Mayberry’s heroics helped lift the Phillies to their third-straight win and third-straight seven-run scoring performance.
The right fielder crushed a leadoff solo shot in the 10th to tie it, 3-3, and answer yet another run plated on the Phillies shaky bullpen, this time, Antonio Bastardo. Then, with the Phillies first walk-off grand slam since Dale Murphy’s on Aug. 6, 1991 and first set of extra-inning homers since Baltimore's Mike Young in 1987, Mayberry punctuated the game, his night and perhaps this maddening run of mediocrity.
“I think it definitely picks you up and it definitely brings life to you,” said manager Charlie Manuel.
It also pulls the Phillies within a game’s reach of .500 for the fourth time since May 22, their longest winning streak (four games) and second series sweep this season.
The Phillies are now 4-1 in extra-inning games this year.
Another uplifting win didn’t seem in the cards early.
Through six innings against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, a reliable source of struggles for the Phillies, the lineup had mustered only one hit, a Michael Young infield single.
They scraped together two runs off him on from Ryan Howard, Delmon Young and Erik Kratz, who moments before his call to pinch hit was still strapped in his catching gear. After a 100 yard dash from the bullpen, shin guards still wrapped to his legs, Kratz roped one to right to score Howard.
Kratz entered the at-bat 0 for 2 as a pinch hitter and batting .176 in 34 at-bats with men in scoring position this season.
Still, bad breaks and squandered chances gave this one a familiar, ominous feel.
Second base umpire Bob Davidson, known to inject himself into the action, called out Ben Revere on a questionable interference call at second as second baseman Derek Dietrich tried to turn a double play on a Michael Young grounder.
Davidson claimed Revere grabbed Dietrich’s leg.
“Clearly, I did not grab his leg,” Revere said. “I know he was standing right there. He said he did see it. I’m just like, man needs some glasses or something.”
The Philly faithful agreed, showering boos onto the field for well over 45 minutes.
“I don’t know what he was seeing,” Manuel said. “Bobs kinda getting a little old.”
The call was flimsy at best, egregious at worst.
But there was plenty still within the Phillies control. And with Cesar Hernandez on second and Freddy Galvis on first, Kratz sent a dribbler to third for a ninth-inning ending double play.
Then came Mayberry in the 10th. Then, five outs later and one from a 12th inning and who knows what else, came Mayberry in the 11th.
“For the first at-bat, you know, I was just trying to battle,” Mabyerry said. “Two-two count. Was trying to put the ball in play and be a tough out. The second one, (reliever Edgar Olmos) had some control problems and I was trying to be I guess aggressive within a certain zone and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Domonic Brown went hitless in five at-bats, but reached in the 11th after tapping one just right of the mound that a sprinting Olmos, making his second major league appearance, overshot and muffed.
Facing Olmos’ 97 m.p.h. heat, Kyle Kendrick, playing for his third time in four games, here as a pinch-hitter, laid down a bunt to move Brown to second. Marlins manager Mike Redmond opted to intentionally walk Galvis. Kratz drew a walk on straight pitches to load the bases.
How sure was Mayberry he had won it?
“I wasn't quite sure,” he said. “I had a feeling it was gonna sneak in there, but I didn't know if it was going to make it out of there.”
Since his average sagged to .243 on May 16, with a 2 for 3 night tonight, Mayberry is hitting .423 in 16 at-bats.
All he was counting on Tuesday was the number of smiling faces waiting for him at home plate.
Because who gave him the biggest beating when he got there proved to be too much to tally.
“It's really tough to put your finger on it,” Mayberry said with a smile. “Everybody's getting their shot or two in, so I think it was a collective team effort.”