05/12/09 11:26 PM ET
Werth stuns Dodgers with steal of home
Phils right fielder ties club record with four stolen bases
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Werth noticed the Dodgers catcher's lapse in judgment after right-hander Ronald Belisario threw his first pitch to Pedro Feliz with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday in a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Werth, who stood on third base, figured he would steal home if Feliz worked the count to two strikes.
So on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Werth inched his way toward home plate as the 2-2 fastball arrived for a ball. Martin, who hadn't bothered to check out Werth at any point during the at-bat, lightly tossed the ball back to Belisario.
As soon as Martin threw, Werth broke for home.
He arrived safely.
"The first pitch, I knew I had it," Werth said. "If we got to two strikes, I felt like I had the timing. I knew it was going to be close, but I felt like I was going to be safe. I thought it was the right situation."
Werth had a record-setting day. He tied a franchise record with four stolen bases in a game, becoming the first Phillie to accomplish the feat since Garry Maddox stole four bases against the Pirates on May 29, 1978. Werth stole three bases in the seventh inning, becoming the first Phillie to accomplish the feat since Pete Rose stole three in the seventh inning against the Reds on May 11, 1980.
Werth also became the first Phillie to steal home since Carlos Ruiz against the Reds on June 26, 2007.
Martin couldn't believe he let it happen.
"It was an embarrassing play," he said. "He timed it perfectly. Right then, all I was thinking about was getting the hitter out. It shouldn't have happened."
Werth said Phils first-base coach Davey Lopes, the team's base-stealing guru, had been getting on his baserunners lately about not stealing enough bases. The Phillies had just 12 stolen bases through their first 29 games. The Phils led the Majors in stolen-base percentage each of the previous two seasons, including stealing successfully 84.5 percent of the time last season.
"Davey has been harping on us about being aggressive on the bases and not missing opportunities," Werth said. "I saw an opportunity, and I took it."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thought Werth looked frisky Tuesday.
"Not any more than usual I would say," Werth joked. "I like to be aggressive out there, sometimes to a fault. But you play hard and play the game the right way. Davey is a big part of our baserunning game. He sees stuff that people don't see. He gives us information, little tidbits and stuff to pick up on and take advantage of the situation. I don't think he gets enough credit for the stuff he does around here."
It was the first time Werth had stolen home at any point in his baseball career, from Little League to the big leagues.
Phillies fans gave Werth a standing ovation as he returned to the dugout.
They wanted a curtain call.
"Unexpected for sure," Werth said. "You get a curtain call for stealing a base, that's pretty special."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.