Ben Francisco, pinch-hitting for starter Cole Hamels, came up big with a three-run shot off Jaime Garcia in the seventh inning to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 3-2 win Tuesday night over the St. Louis Cardinals for a 2-1 lead in their National League Division Series.
That was all the offense the Phillies needed behind Hamels, who earned his seventh postseason victory. He's no amateur. Reliever Ryan Madson entered in the eighth to get five outs and (barely) save Hamels' performance after going no more than one inning during his 32 regular season saves. He was pretty pumped about his outing:
"That was a lot of fun. I wish I was a lot better but I guess I was goof enough and that's all that matters."
Hamels was on fire after a rough September, striking out eight over six scoreless innings, with the only extra-base hits coming by way of two Albert Pujols doubles. You'll have that.
The NL Wild Card-winning Cardinals stranded 14 runners on base in front of a sell-out home crowd of 46,914, which is pretty disappointing considering how hard they worked to get to the playoffs in the first place
. They attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh when David Freese nailed an RBI single off Hamels to put his team on the board before Yadier Molina added another run in the ninth off Madson with a base hit to center that scored Pujols, but it was too little-too late.
Heavily favored to win it all after a franchise-record 102-win season, the Phillies will attempt to finish off the Cardinals in Game 4 Wednesday night at 6:05pm ET on TBS. Roy Oswalt will get the ball again for Philadelphia against righty Edwin Jackson, who has faced the Phils just once in real life: a loss in which he gave up five runs on eight hits with two walks over five innings.