This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies going from worst to first and winning the National League pennant. All season long we will take a look back at each game of the 1993 season.
Last Game: Cubs 11, Phillies 7
A day after the Phillies and Cubs combined for 19 runs in the Veterans Stadium home opener, the NL East rivals got off to another fast start. Terry Mulholland picked up his second win in as many starts and the Phillies once again sat atop the NL East standings with a 4-1 record. They would not be knocked out of first place for the remainder of the season.
Willie Wilson led off the game by reaching first base when Phillies shortstop Juan Bell misplayed a ball heading in his direction. Bell's error would end up be costly early on. Mulholland nearly escaped the inning without allowing the unearned run but with two outs in the inning Derrick May hit a long drive to deep right field for a two-run home run. Both runs would be unearned for Mulholland but the Phillies had been put in an early hole as a result of Bell's fielding error. The Phillies would strike back in the bottom of the inning though.
As most games did in the summer of 1993, Lenny Dykstra got things rolling early. The lead off center fielder singled off of Cubs starter Mike Morgan and waited for an opportunity to steal second base with Mickey Morandini up to bat. After three pitches to the second baseman, Dykstra took off for second on the fourth pitch to move in to scoring position, and he moved up to third base on a sacrifice fly from Morandini. John Kruk got ahead early on the next at-bat and delivered a 2-0 pitch to the seats in right field to tie things up 2-2. From there, Mulholland once again took control on the mound for the Phillies, retiring 19 of the next 20 Cubs batters he faced. The only Cub to reach base until the top of the eighth inning was catcher Matt Walbeck, who reached first base on a fielding error by Morandini.
While Mulholland was setting down the Cubs offense, the Phillies bats were largely silent against Morgan. The Phillies put some pressure on in the sixth inning with Morandini singling to lead off the inning and Kruk following with a walk but a ground ball double play off the bat of Dave Hollins stalled a threat. Darren Daulton and Milt Thompson each worked a the count and walked on back-to-back full counts against Morgan, loading the bases as a result, but Wes Chamberlain grounded out on the first pitch he saw from the tiring Cubs starter. The Phillies would chase Morgan in the seventh inning though.
After Bell and Mulholland recorded two quick outs on three pitches, Dykstra once again stepped in to spark the team by walking from a full count and once again stealing second base with Morandini ahead in the count 2-0. Morandini would later walk after another count went full against Morgan. That would be all for the Cubs starter. Dan Plesac came out of the Veterans Stadium bullpen and the reliever soon was the victim of a double steal by Dykstra and Morandini after throwing one pitch to Kruk (a ball). That proved to be critical as Kruk singled to center field to score both runners to give the Phillies a late 4-2 lead. Bell would tack one another run in the eighth inning with an RBI single to score Thompson from second base.
Mulholland took the mound in the ninth inning looking to protect a 5-2 lead but he ran in to some trouble early. A throwing error by Mulholland to first base allowed the Cubs to get their leadoff runner on and two pitches later Mark Grace smacked a home run to right field to bring the Cubs within one run. Mulholland's day was officially done, as manager Jim Fregosi brought in his closer, Mitch Williams. Williams had some wild moments in 1993 coming in out of the bullpen and his erratic delivery and style would make for some tense moments later on in the season. This was not one of them. Williams struck out three straight batters on counts of 0-2, 1-2 and 1-2 respectively to close it out. The save was the third of the season for Williams.
With the win the Phillies moved back in to first place in the early season NL East standings, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals. For the rest of the 1993 season, the Phillies would remain in first place in the division.