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: Phillies 5, Astros 3
In order to pick up a hard-fought three-game sweep on the road to open the season, the Phillies would have to dig deep against the Houston Astros. There would also be no early departure back home to Philadelphia, as the Phillies and Astros would go in to an extra inning of baseball before determining a winner. As he would be a number of times as the season progressed, Milt Thompson came through in the clutch, one of this team's overshadowed keys to a successful season.
Danny Jackson made his Phillies debut on the mound after being traded to the team from the expansion Florida Marlins in exchange for Joel Adamson and Matt Whisenant. things started well for the new starting pitcher, striking out the side in the bottom of the second inning and working through a stress-free fourth inning. Luis Gonzalez homered off of Jackson for two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. and he would later add a second home run to tack on one more run against Jackson in the bottom of the seventh inning. The second Gonzalez home run came in the same inning Phillies catcher Darren Daulton hit his first home run of the season, leading off the inning with a solo home run to right-center off of Astros starter Pete Harnisch. Daulton's home run was the first hit of the night for the Phillies.
Harnisch would be replaced in the eighth inning after striking out seven Phillies batters and allowing just the Daulton home run. The Phillies bats attacked the Astros bullpen quickly. Ricky Jordan pinch hit for Jackson to lead off the eighth inning and he did so with a single on a shallow fly to center. Jordan was forced out at second on a ground ball by Lenny Dykstra, who was safe at first base to keep the pressure on. Dykstra may have though about stealing second base if given an opportunity, but second baseman Mickey Morandini did not allow for it, hitting a game-tying two-run home run to right field on the first pitch he saw from Astros reliever Doug Jones. John Kruk followed with a double and Daulton was walked intentionally to bring up Milt Thompson. Thompson did his part to keep the inning alive with a single to center field up the middle, but Kruk was thrown out at home trying to score to give the Phillies the lead.
With the game tied, veteran reliever Larry Andersen was charged with keeping things were they were heading in to the ninth inning. After recording two outs to start the bottom of the eighth by striking out Craig Biggio and getting Steve Finley to fly out to left, Jeff Bagwell and Eric Anthony had back-to-back singles to put the pressure on. Andersen ended the threat by striking out Ken Caminiti on three pitches.
After the Phillies were unable to do much of anything in the top of the ninth inning, the Astros gave the Phillies bullpen a scare in the bottom of the inning. David West had come on to replace Andersen and he struggled. Gonzalez led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left field through the hole between third and shortstop, and Jose Uribe put down sacrifice bunt to move Gonzalez in to scoring position. Phillies manager Jim Fregosi then called on Jose DeLeon to get out of the jam, but that was no less of a headache. DeLeon hit Chris James with his first pitch and walked Biggio on five pitches to load the bases with two outs. The game went to extra innings after Finley lined out to left field.
The Phillies then pounded the Astros in the tenth inning. Morandini and Kruk led off the inning with back-to-back singles off of Eric Bell. Daulton would later walk to load the bases with just one out off of Xavier Hernandez. With the bases loaded, Milt Thompson sent a rocket in to clear the bases and give the Phillies a 6-3 lead. That brought on Mitch Williams for his second save opportunitiy in as many games. Williams won a battle with Jeff Bagwell, with the Astros first baseman striking out swinging on a full count, but Williams lost the next full count battle against Eric Anthony by walking him. A wild pitch from Williams against Caminiti allowed Anthony to advance to second base but that is as far as he would reach.
Caminiti struck out swinging and Gonzalez grounded out for the final out, with Morandini fielding the ground ball and tossing to Kruk for the final out in the tenth inning.