PHILADELPHIA - Jimmy Rollins won a game and evoked memories of 2007 with one swing Wednesday afternoon.
That's because the Phillies are in the midst of another unlikely push to make the postseason.
Rollins lined a two-run home run into the right-field stands in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Phillies a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins before 42,178 fans at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies (72-71) have won seven straight and 11 of their last 13 games. They trail the St. Louis Cardinals (75-68) by three games in the race for the second National League wild card after the Cardinals lost 3-2 to the Padres.
"We're in it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the wild-card race. "We're dead in it."
With the winning streak, the Phillies have put themselves in position to make another remarkable regular-season comeback.
Philadelphia trailed the New York Mets by seven games with 17 to play but rallied to win the NL East in 2007.
That started a stretch of five straight playoff appearances by the Phillies - a streak that seemed certainly to be over when September began. Philadelphia began the month nine games back of the second wild-card spot. The Phillies were 13 games under .500 as late as July 21.
Even Manuel admitted that he didn't give the Phillies' postseason chances much thought until a week ago.
"The starting pitching is pitching (well). The bullpen is pitching well," said Cliff Lee, Wednesday's starter and winning pitcher. "We're playing solid defense, and we're getting timely hits. If you're lacking in any of those, you usually lose. Lately, we've been doing all those pretty solid."
Wednesday's win was testament to almost all those qualities. The Phillies scored all their runs with two outs.
The winning rally began when pinch hitter Pete Orr hit a two-out single off Marlins starter Josh Johnson and stole second. Orr was 6-for-15 lifetime against Johnson before his at-bat. Orr did not know how successful he was against the Marlins' starter until Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin told him before his at-bat.
Rollins then lined a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the stands to give the Phillies a two-run lead. Rollins left the clubhouse without talking to reporters.
"Jimmy came up huge," Orr said. "It kind of felt we were a big hit away all day."
Wednesday's game had the look of a postseason contest with the late afternoon sun creating shadows across the field that made it tough for hitters to see the ball.
Both starting pitchers dominated.
The Phillies did not have a hit until Rollins led off the sixth inning with a single to right field. Philadelphia tied the game that inning on John Mayberry Jr.'s two-out, RBI single.
Lee (5-7, 3.36 ERA) allowed no earned runs, four hits and struck out six in seven innings. His start continued a successful stretch by Philadelphia starters, who are 15-5 in their last 29 starts with a 3.02 ERA.
Relievers Phillippe Aumont and Jonathan Papelbon combined to strike out four and throw two hitless, shutout innings to preserve the win.
Phillies relievers have allowed one earned run and struck out 28 in 17 innings pitched during the win streak.
That kind of pitching often leads to playoff success. The question now is can the Phillies get there?
It will not be easy. In addition to the Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers (74-68), Pittsburgh Pirates (72-70) and Milwaukee Brewers (72-71) began Wednesday with the same or better records than the Phillies.
One thing is for certain the Phillies' winning streak has made them a must-watch for the rest of the season. A season that seemed destined to fade away is now fun again.
"They kind of go hand in hand," Lee said, "winning and fun - losing and not fun."
The Phillies begin a seven-game road trip in Houston today that includes four games against the Astros and then three vs. the New York Mets. The Astros (45-97) have the worst record in baseball. But Philadelphia isn't in a position to take any games for granted.
"They're the kind of team that's always dangerous," Manuel said. "They're free and they're up there hacking for their numbers."
Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Dodgers begin a four-game series in Los Angeles today.
"I think it's possible, no doubt," Lee said of the team's playoff chances. We have a few teams ahead of us, but all we control is what we can control. If we continue to play like we have since really the All Star break, we have a pretty good chance."
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