Well, that hurt.
A scoreless pitchers duel between Jaime Garcia and Cole Hamels through six innings turned in the seventh, as the Phillies scored the only runs they needed on a three-run pinch-hit homer by Ben Francisco.
The Cardinals had their chances. Plenty of chances, in fact. They left 14 runners on base throughout the night, and had the hallmark of the 2011 team end their biggest rally when Allen Craig grounded into a bases-loaded double play in the bottom of the eighth inning. The regular season is over, you’ve set a new record, STOP WITH THE GIDP. Please!
Even with that, they had a chance in the bottom of the ninth as well. They were trailing 3-1 to start the inning when Albert capped a 4-for-5 game with his third double. Lance Berkman had a chance to make our LB Fan Club proud, but he hit a fly out to center. David Freese, who had a rough night but did drive in the first run, advanced Albert to third on his ground out before Yadi — who obviously knows how to come through in postseason pressure situations — singled to score Albert. Birthday-boy Kyle Lohse came in to pinch-run since speed could be a factor.
Which left everything it up to Ryan Theriot — the very same Ryan Theriot who had done the few members of our Ryan Theriot Fan Club very proud tonight by going 4-for-4 until that point. And just when he had the chance to make Cardinal National love him forever and Cub fans hate him even more …
He battled, running the count to 2-2. But he grounded to Chase Utley, playing back on the outfield grass, to end the game.
So much for the Rally Squirrel.
The Cardinals are now in a familiar situation: must win tomorrow, with Edwin Jackson facing Roy Oswalt.
Look for more on Game Three tomorrow morning on AMF.