Phils survive to take lead, Rangers advance
They just never came up with that big hit.
St. Louis stranded 14 runners and squandered a bases-loaded threat in the eighth inning with Pujols on deck during a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of their National League playoff Tuesday.
It was a huge missed opportunity for the Cardinals, who also wasted a strong showing by starter Jaime Garcia. He had the Phillies shut out on four hits until pinch-hitter Ben Francisco’s three-run homer with two outs in the seventh provided all the offense for Philadelphia.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Pujols said. “Jaime was cruising pretty much the whole game. Just one ball up, a good swing and there you go, out of the park.”
Trailing 2-1 in the best-of-five matchup, the Cardinals must win Wednesday to send the series back to Philadelphia for a decisive fifth game. Edwin Jackson, acquired at the trade deadline, starts for St. Louis against Roy Oswalt.
Cole Hamels pitched six shutout innings for the win, striking out eight, but the Cardinals put runners on base in each of those innings with five hits, three walks and a hit batter. After Hamels left, St. Louis got a run in the seventh on David Freese’s two-out single off Vance Worley, but left the potential tying runs on base when Yadier Molina flied out softly to right.
St. Louis loaded the bases in the eighth. Ryan Theriot, who was 4 for 5, led off with a single. An out later, Matt Holliday—limited to pinch-hitting duty because of a finger injury—singled off Brad Lidge, and Rafael Furcal followed with a single.
But closer Ryan Madson came in and Allen Craig’s smash to second was turned into a double play.
It was no huge surprise: St. Louis hit into a National League-record 169 double plays during the regular season.
“That’s the first time I’ve used Madson for four outs or five outs,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I figured the game was right there on the line and we had to stop them.”
St. Louis cut the margin to 3-2 in the ninth on Pujols’ third double of the game—he also went 4 for 5—and a two-out single by Molina. But Theriot bounced to second to end the game with the potential tying run at first.
The Tampa Bay Rays simply ran out of comebacks.
Adrian Beltre hit three home runs, Ian Kinsler also went deep and the Texas Rangers knocked the Rays out of the playoffs Tuesday with a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of their American League division series.
“It’s always painful, especially being around the league for this long,” Tampa Bay designated hitter Johnny Damon said. “You never know when your last opportunity is going to be. We battled very tough. We had a good enough team to win, and keep on winning. It just seemed Texas definitely had our number.”
Unable to win a home game against Texas again, the Rays were eliminated under their own roof by the Rangers for the second consecutive year.
-- Yankees 10, Tigers 1—Rick Porcello pitched a couple balls over the middle of the plate, and the New York Yankees took advantage.
Derek Jeter drilled one of Porcello’s mistakes for a two-run double in the third inning, and Curtis Granderson crushed another for an RBI double in the fifth. New York took control early and routed the Tigers at Detroit to even their AL series at 2-2.
The Tigers had a chance to advance at home. Now they’ll have try to do it on the road in a win-or-go-home game.
Game 5 is Thursday night in New York.
, where Detroit hopes Doug Fister will fare better than he did in the completion of the suspended opener against Ivan Nova. Fister, who was sensational for the Tigers after being acquired at the trading deadline, gave up six runs Saturday in the Yankees’ 9-3 win.
It will be the first postseason series involving the Tigers that went to the maximum games since 1972, when Detroit lost at home to Oakland in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Last updated: 6:48 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012