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 6, Astros 3 (10 innings)
WP: Chuck McElroy
LP: Ben Rivera
SV: Randy Myers (1)
The Phillies returned home following a three-game road sweep of the Houston Astros to start the 1993 season for their home opener at Veterans Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. Over 60,000 were on hand to see the Phillies hope to keep the hot streak going and for a brief amount of time it looked as though the roll would continue for this cast of misfits. But a quick lead quickly turned in to a deficit as the Cubs spoiled the home opener and handed the Phillies their first loss of the 1993 season, resulting in the one day of the entire season the Phillies would not occupy first place in the National League East.
Ben Rivera took the mound for the Phillies and he made quick work of the top of the Cubs lineup starting with center fielder Willie Wilson, who owns a dubious role in Phillies franchise history of course. In the bottom of the first inning it looked as though the Phillies would be quickly retired by Cubs starter Frank Castillo with Lenny Dykstra and Mickey Morandini each being retired on three pitches with fly balls to left field. But John Kruk lined a ground rule double off the Veterans Stadium Astroturf and Dave Hollins walked on four pitches to set up one of the team's top RBI producers, catcher Darren Daulton. Daulton lined a three-run home run to left center field on the second pitch he faced to send the 60,000-plus on hand in to a frenzy.
Unfortunately for the home team the excitement would quickly be quelled as the Cubs answered with a three-run shot by Jose Vizcaino in the top of the second inning, brining home Sammy Sosa in the bunch. Rivera served up a second home run in the top of the third inning, this time to right fielder Derrick May for two runs. Sosa followed May's homer with a triple in to the gap in left center and would come home on an RBI single by third baseman Steve Buechele. That was enough for Phillies manager Jim Fregosi to make a pitching change, pulling Rivera and opting for Tommy Greene. Greene got out of the inning by picking up a couple of outs and was able to provide a couple innings of solid relief on short notice.
Kruk cut in to the deficit with a solo home run in the bottom of the third and Dykstra brought the Phillies within one with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Phillies remained within striking distance heading in to the seventh inning but reliever David West was unable to keep it that way. West replaced Jose DeLeon after the Cubs moved Wilson over to third base following his lead-off double and a sacrifice bunt. He then proceeded to walk Mark Grace and give up a crushing three-run home run to May. May's second home run of the game gave the Cubs a 9-5 lead. Daulton would hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the Cubs lead to 9-7, but reliever Tyler Green, making his major league debut, allowed a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
There would be no rally for the Phillies on the day of the home run derby of a home opener, but there would be plenty of great moments to come at The Vet during that summer of 1993.