Ben Francisco did what?!?
Francisco, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning for pitcher Cole Hamels, smashed a line-drive, three-run home run to give the Phillies 3-0 lead. They would hold on to take Game 3 of the NLDS over the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2.
For Francisco, it was just his second career hit in 19 postseason at-bats.
It wasn’t the cleanest of outings for Hamels. In each inning, he allowed at least one baserunner, but came out of each unscathed. His final line: six innings, five hits, three walks, eight strikeouts, and a zero where it mattered most.
Francisco got the opportunity after Shane Victorino’s lead-off single – he then moved up a base on a passed ball. With two outs, Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked and Tony LaRussa kept Garcia in to face Francisco who changed the game with one swing.
Garcia went seven innings, allowing those three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Vance Worley came on in the bottom of the seventh to relieve Hamels and gave up the Cardinals’ first run; an RBI single by David Freese, who had struck out in his three previous at-bats. He would stick around for one batter in the eighth, only to allow Ryan Theriot to slap another base hit.
Brad Lidge then loaded the bases and Ryan Madson had to come in for a five-out save. He got two of those outs in the eighth on one pitch – a 4-3 double play off the bat of Allen Craig.
Madson gave up a run in the ninth, an RBI single by Yadier Molina with two-outs which scored Albert Pujols. The Cardinals’ first baseman finished 4-for-5 with three doubles.
It came down to Theriot, who went into the showdown with Madson 4-for-4 on the night. He’d finish 4-for-5. Madson induced a ground out to end a pulse-pumping ninth inning, putting the Phillies on the brink of the NLCS.