Phillies 5 Rockies 4
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 Monday night to reach the National League Championship Series.
Brad Lidge, bouncing back from a rugged regular season, earned his second consecutive save by again retiring cleanup batter Troy Tulowitzki with runners on second and first for the final out.
Tulowitzki, who flied out to conclude 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.
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.
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 the ninth in Game 3 when he allowed Howard’s sacrifice fly to break a 5-5 tie. He came in again to face the Phillies, and trouble ensued.
Jimmy Rollins singled with one out and Utley drew a two-out walk on a full count. Howard tied it with two strikes when he doubled up against the right-field wall and Werth followed with a soft single.
“We were a strike away from making a trip to Philadelphia,” lamented Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who went 74-42 after taking over from Clint Hurdle on May 29.
The Phillies, the NL’s best road team, swept both games at Coors Field, where the wild-card Rockies went 44-17 under Tracy’s tutelage.