33 games in 31 days: Game #20: The Phils missed an opportunity to clinch the NL East, as they fall in extra-innings to the Cardinals, 4-2.

As the Braves get crushed by the Mets, the Phils missed a chance to clinch their fifth straight Eastern Division title as they fall in extra-innings to the Cardinals, 4-2.

The Cardinals took the lead in the second as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to David Freese, a single by Yadier Molina, sending Freese up to second base, and a walk to Skip Schumaker, moving both runners up a base, and with two men out, Rafael Furcal forced in a run with a walk, scoring Freese, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead, while moving up a base both Molina and Schumaker. The Phils tied the game up at one-all in their half of the second as, with one man on, and with one man out, John Mayberry, Jr. hits an RBI double, knocking in Placido Polanco, who had just doubled. The Cardinals retook the lead in the eighth as, with two men out, Molina hits a solo home run, his thirteenth home run of the season, giving the Cards a 2-1 lead. The Phils would retie the game up at two-all in the ninth as, with two men on, and with two men out, pinch runner Michael Martinez, who was running for pinch hitter Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled, would score on a Corey Patterson fielding error of a fly ball hit by Carlos Ruiz, allowing Ruiz to reach second base on the miscue. The Cards then regain the lead in the eleventh as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Adron Chambers hits an RBI single, scoring Furcal, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Patterson’s sacrifice bunt, giving the Cards a 3-2 lead, while sending Albert Pujols, who had just been intentionally walked, up to second base. The Cards then added to their lead as Tyler Greene hits an RBI double, knocking in Pujols, giving the Cards a 4-2 lead, before Chambers, who was following Pujols, was tagged out at the plate on a strong throw by Martinez, via Jimmy Rollins, for a 7-6-2 second out. But that would end up being the final score as the Phils go down in their half of the eleventh.

Vance Worley received a no-decision as he went only six innings, giving up a run on six hits and three walks, while striking out five. David Herndon pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out one. Antonio Bastardo pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter. Michael Schwimer (1-1, 4.82) took the lost, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks. Jaime Garcia also received a no-decision as he went seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and two walks, while striking out four. Marc Rzepczynski collected his seventeenth hold of the season as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a walk, while striking out a batter. Octavio Dotel received his ninth hold of the year as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the only batter that he would face. Jason Motte blew his fourth save attempt of the year as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on a hit, striking out a batter. Arthur Rhodes pitched a third of an inning, striking out the only batter that he would face. Kyle McClellan (12-8, 4.01) got the win as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Fernando Salas collected his twenty-fourth save of the year as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter.

The Phils had seven hits in the ballgame, with Placido Polanco (Single, Double) and John Mayberry, Jr. (Single, Double, RBI) both leading the team with two hits each. Ben Francisco (Single), Brian Schneider (Single) and pinch hitter Ryan Howard (Double), had the other three Phils’ hits, as the offense continue to sputter, in spite of continuing to win.

The Phils (97-52, 1st East) will continue their series with the Cardinals (82-68, 2nd Central) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Roy Oswalt (7-9, 3.88), who is coming off a lost against the Astros on September 12, as he went seven innings, giving up five runs on eleven hits and two walks, while striking out just two, in the Phils’ 5-1 lost. Oswalt will be trying to regain his old form while trying to pitch the Phils over the finish line, if the Braves don’t fall to the Mets this afternoon. The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (12-8, 4.61), who is coming off a win against the Braves on September 11, as he went five and a third innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Cards’ 6-3 win. He will be trying to keep the Phils from winning the East for one more day, while keeping his team in the race for the Wild Card. The Phils will be out prove to that they have won the East by going for the win tonight.

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