2011 National League Divisional Series, Game #3: The Phils retake the series lead thanks to Ben Francisco’s pinch hit three-run home run, as they hang on to defeat the Cards, 3-2.

The Phils retake the lead in the divisional series as they ride Ben Francisco’s pinch hit three-run home run, before hanging on to defeat the Cards, 3-2.

The first six innings of the game featured a pitchers’ duel between Cards’ starter Jaime Garcia, who kept the Phils off-balance, while giving up only four hits and a walk, while striking out three, and Phils’ starter Cole Hamels, who would pitch himself out of trouble in the first, fourth and sixth innings, as he gave up just five hits and three walks, while striking out eight. The Phils then put pressure on Garcia in the seventh as Shane Victorino got on base with a single, before going to second base on a Yadier Molina passed ball, before Garcia got the next two batters out with a fly out to right (John Mayberry, Jr.) and a ground out (Placido Polanco), 5-3. After Carlos Ruiz is intentionally walked, the Phils sent Ben Francisco to pinch hit for Hamels. After getting a ball, Francisco drills one into the Phils’ bullpen in left, to give the Phils a 3-0 lead on his pinch hit home run, his first home run of the series, knocking in both Victorino and Ruiz. The Cards then started a comeback in their half of the seventh. After Vance Worley started the inning off by getting Rafael Furcal to ground out, 3-unassisted, for the inning’s first out, he walks Allen Craig, before giving up a single to Albert Pujols, which would send Craig up to second base. Lance Berkman then followed by hitting into a force out, 4-6, that would wipe out Pujols at second base for the inning’s second out, while Craig would reach third base, while Berkman would be safe at first, putting runners on the corners. The Cards then got on the board as David Freese hits an RBI single to center, knocking in Craig, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1, while sending Berkman up to second base. Worley would finally end the inning by getting Molina to fly out to right. After the Phils are kept from scoring in the top of the eighth, the Cards attempted a rally in their half of the eighth as Ryan Theriot started the inning off with a single. Charlie Manuel then came out and replaced Worley with Antonio Bastardo, who then proceeded to get pinch hitter Nick Punto to fly out to center for the inning’s first out. Manuel then came back out and replaced Bastardo with Brad Lidge. That move seems to backfire as he gives up a single to pinch hitter Matt Holliday, moving Theriot up to second base, before he is replaced at first by pinch runner Adron Chambers. The next batter, Furcal, then loaded up the bases with a single to left, sending Theriot on to third base, while Chambers would stop at second base. Manuel then came back out, and took out Lidge, replacing him with his closer Ryan Madson. That move was rewarded with Craig hitting into a 4-3 doubleplay, as Furcal is wiped out at second base, to end the threat. After the Phils are unable to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth, Madson went back out to attempt a five-out save. He is greeted with a lead-off double by Pujols, which was his fourth hit of the ballgame, and his third double of the game. After Madson gets Berkman to fly out to center for the inning’s first out, he gets Freese to ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out, as Pujols moved up to third. Now, with a man on third, Madson tried to get out Molina to end the game. Molina, instead, hits the first pitch he saw into center field for an RBI single, knocking in Pujols, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. After Molina is replaced by pinch runner Kyle Lohse, Madson went after Theriot, who had already been on base with four hits, all singles. But, he wasn’t able to get hit no. five as Madson got him to ground out, 4-3, for the final out, collecting his first save of the series.

Cole Hamels (1-0, 0.00) gets the win as he pitched six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and three walks, while striking out eight. Vance Worley received his first hold of the series as he pitched an inning plus a batter, giving up a run on three hits. Antonio Bastardo received his first hold of the series as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Brad Lidge pitched to two batters, giving up two hits. Ryan Madson collected his first save of the series as he pitched an inning and two-thirds, giving up a run on two hits, as he recorded a very rare five-out save. Jaime Garcia (0-1, 3.86) took the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out three. Fernando Salas and Jason Motte combined for two scoreless innings, as they gave up a hit (Motte), while striking out a batter (Motte), between them.

The Phils had only seven hits in the ballgame, with Jimmy Rollins leading the team with two hits, a single and a double. Chase Utley (Single), Shane Victorino (Single), Placido Polanco (Single, his first hit of the series), Carlos Ruiz (single, his first hit of the series) and pinch hitter Ben Francisco (Home Run, his first hit of the series, 3 RBIs), had the other five Phils’ hits, with Francisco becoming the surprising hero of the game with his pinch hit shot to left.

The Phils, now with a 2-1 game lead in the divisional series, will continue the series with the Cards (2-1) in St. Louis. The game will be played in Busch Stadium (III) and will begin at 6:07 pm EDT (5:07 pm CDT). The Phils will send to the mound Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69), who will be trying to pitch the Phils into the NL Championship Series for the fourth straight year. The Cards will attempt to counter with Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79), who will be trying to force a fifth game back in Philly. The Phils will be trying to clinch their fourth straight appearance in the NL Championship Series, hoping that Oswalt will be at his best while the offense will do what it can to give him much needed run support, while watching out for the Cards putting out all the stops to force a game five.

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