Cole Hamels turned in a great start, Ben Francisco provided the offense and Ryan Madson came up huge in the late innings as the Phillies beat the Cardinals 3-2 to take a commanding 2-1 lead in this best of five NDLS.
The man of the hour has to be Ryan Madson, who earned the five out save in what is the definition of a "high leverage situation." Charlie Manuel opted to bring on Madson with the bases loaded and one out in the 8th inning. With Albert Pujols waiting in the on deck circle, Madson got Allen Craig to ground into an inning ending double play to get the Phils out of a huge jam and send them into the 9th with a 3-1 lead. Madson stayed in for the ninth to face the heart of the Cardinal lineup, and allowed one run but finally got Ryan Theriot (who was 4-4 at the time) out to end the game.
Cole Hamels got the start and was also fantastic throwing six innings of scoreless ball, allowing just five hits and striking out 8. He threw a lot of pitches and worked deep into counts, but in the end the zero on the scoreboard was all that mattered. And really, Cole dominated the Cardinals lineup outside of Albert Pujols and Ryan Theriot. He couldn’t seem to get either out, but neither ever came up in a big spot with guys in scoring position so they never really hurt.
The other man of the night is certainly Ben Francisco. In the top of the seventh with one on and two out, Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa opted to walk Carlos Ruiz to get to the pitchers spot. Charlie Manuel countered by bringing in the righty Ben Francisco to face lefty Jamie Garcia, who prior to the 7th had allowed just four hits. As you know by now, Manuel bested LaRussa in this little battle. Francisco lined a pitch into the left field seats to put the Phillies up 3-0, a lead they would never relinquish.
The Phils will look to close things out tomorrow night at 5:07 eastern with Roy Oswalt the likely starter. The Cardinals will likely go to Edwin Jackson in an attempt to stave off elimination.