Philadelphia Phillies Retro Scorecard Recap: July 30, 2003

Phillies' Jose Mesa and Mike Lieberthal congratulate each other after finishing off the Dodgers in the 9th inning. (Photo by Jon Soohoo/Getty Images)
Phillies' Jose Mesa and Mike Lieberthal congratulate each other after finishing off the Dodgers in the 9th inning. (Photo by Jon Soohoo/Getty Images) /

In this edition of my Philadelphia Phillies retro scorecard recaps, I’m digging out my handiwork from July 30, 2003, 19 years ago today, as the Phillies took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle contest of a three-game set.

There’s a decent crowd of 26,000+ on hand at Veterans Stadium to watch baseball on a pleasant Wednesday night in South Philly, and the pitching matchup seems lopsided in L.A’s favor, with all-star hurler Kevin Brown taking on Brett Myers, who is in his first full season in the bigs. Myers is hoping to piggyback on Vicente Padilla’s excellent effort the night before in the series opener. Let’s see what happens (no spoilers).

On this date 19 years ago, the Philadelphia Phillies tangled with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Leading off the game is Rickey Henderson, who is somehow still playing Major League Baseball after signing a few weeks earlier with the Dodgers, his ninth and final MLB team. Rickey himself may not even remember being a Dodger, although I guess not all of the stories about him were true. At any rate, Myers, who was born a year after Henderson’s first MLB appearance, strikes him out to start the ballgame.

The Phillies cause some problems for Brown in the bottom of the first, with Ricky Ledee reaching base on Brown’s error, then coming around to score on an RBI single by Jim Thome. Two hitters later, Mike Lieberthal plates Thome with a single of his own, and it’s 2-0 Phils after the first inning.

The Dodgers get a run back in the top of the second courtesy of a home run by Paul Lo Duca, back before he was in the business of losing lawsuits to umpire Joe West. L.A. picks up another run in the third inning, and it’s a tie game. Both starters throw up zeroes for the next few frames, and they each exit after six innings pitched. Incidentally, this would be Kevin Brown’s final career appearance against the Phillies.

In the seventh inning, Turk Wendell works around a leadoff double by Adrian Beltre (who ate at least two chicken sandwiches during his career), and we hit stretch time still knotted at 2-2. After Marlon Byrd singles to start the home half, Ledee rips a triple to deep center to restore the Phillies’ lead. Thome then lifts a sac fly to provide some insurance, and it’s 4-2 in favor of the good guys as we move on to the eighth.

Wendell heads back out to the mound, presumably slams the rosin bag into the ground as he always did, and retires the leadoff hitter. Southpaw Dan Plesac is then summoned from the bullpen, and he does the job against lefties Shawn Green and Jeromy Burnitz to keep it a 4-2 game. After the Phillies go quietly in the bottom half of the inning, it’s Jose Mesa time as we head to the ninth.

Mesa allows a leadoff single to the pesky Lo Duca. After a fielder’s choice, Beltre singles, and the Dodgers are threatening with men on first and second and one out. L.A. skipper Jim Tracy then makes the decision to lift Alex Cora in favor of pinch hitter Mike Kinkade. The move pays off.

For the Phillies.

With a 2-0 count and things getting very hairy and Mesa-like, Kinkade grounds into a 6-4-3 twin killing to end the ballgame. Mesa records his 108th career save as a Phil to extend his franchise record in that ridiculous category, and the Fightins move to 59-47 on the year. They’re well out in the NL East thanks to the Braves running away with it, but they’re very much in the wild card hunt.

Next. Phillies: Top 5 additions to make at the deadline. dark

The Phillies would go on to sweep the Dodgers the following night but, of course, the 2003 season would end without a playoff appearance even though they ended up with 86 wins on the year. Good, but not good enough. On this night 19 years ago, at least, the Phils sent their fans home happy.