Roy Oswalt, who continued the trend of Phillies pitchers hitting in the playoffs (see Myers, Blanton, Lee, Halladay), singled to start the bottom of the seventh. He was bunted over to second by Shane Victorino (one out).
With right-hander Ramon Martinez on the mound, Bruce Bochy elected to intentionally walk Utley (first and second, one out). Polanco then singled off Martinez, allowing Oswalt to score on the now infamous missed stop sign (one run in, still first and second, one out).
Jeremy Affeldt then came in to face Ryan Howard and struck him out (first and second, two outs).
Stop right there.
Had Manuel not switched Polanco and Utley in the batting order, forcing the Giants to walk Utley, the inning may very well have been over. If Polanco was batting in the second spot, he likely still would have faced Martinez and still would have singled in Oswalt. But then Affeldt would have been brought in to face Utley and Howard. You don’t know what would have happened had he faced Utley (3 for 8 in 11 PAs against him), but he wouldn’t have been intentionally walked. In those eight at-bats against Affeldt, Utley has struck out three times. The odds still say that Affeldt gets Utley out then strikes out Howard. Inning over.
Instead, Utley was given a pass to allow Martinez to stay in the game and face Polanco. Howard’s strike out was only the second out. Jayson Werth was then intentionally walked and Affeldt was replaced with Santiago Casilla (RHP). This allowed Rollins to bat left-handed, even though he was struggling to push-off his injured right hamstring from the right side.
Rollins hit a three-run double, with an assist from Larry Bowa, and the Phils never looked back.
All of that because Manuel made one small lineup change. Some fans and writers called for him to flip Howard and Werth in the lineup instead of Polanco and Utley. You can never know how that would have played out, but the most likely scenario is that Affeldt comes into the game to face Utley, and then either walks Werth to get to Howard or is replaced with a righty to matchup with Werth. Either way, Utley is never given a free pass and Rollins may never even come to the plate.
These were all insurance runs, but a 3-1 game is very different than a 6-1 game. i.e.- we see Lidge instead of Madson. Perhaps more importantly, Manuel's move allowed Rollins to snap out of his funk.