Francisco’s Blast Sends Phillies to 2-1 Series Lead

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 04, 2011 08:29 PM | Comments: 49
2011 Game Recaps, Analysis, News, Posts

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.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    I’ll be damned. This is one crazy frickin’ sport. Benny Fresh is the hero. But Madson? What you can say? Five best outs of the season!

  • Posts: 0 Dark

    I was soooo nervous. I was thinking of a homer when Francisco came up, but more thought we would just suck. But hey, he proved me wrong. Nice 5 out save by Madson, though not without it’s stress.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I was just thinking since the starters where ineffective against Garcia its time to start pinch hitting and subbing to give other guys a crack. Boy was i right…Pujols is a beast…

  • Posts: 5365 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Every single year, every postseason you can count on at least one unlikely hero- Way to go Ben Fran!

    And Happy 67th Birthday Tony Larussa, you lose the game, and get fined 25 grand.

    Nice Job Cole!

    Whoooooo Hooooooooo!!!!

  • Posts: 30 Gavin

    Avatar of Gavin

    Let’s go Phils!

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Lefty you are correct….These Cards are so dangerous if we can get pass them and avoid the Yankees i think we may have it…

    • Posts: 0 Ryan H

      you’re afraid of the yankees? they have one pitcher followed by a bunch of bums. they’re relying heavily on freddy freaking garcia for god’s sake

      the brewers are the scariest team in the playoffs outside of the phils.

    • Posts: 0 Doug K

      Hey, forget the Yank-Me’s. We need to worry about the Tigers.

  • Posts: 13 BrewTown PhilsPhan

    Avatar of BrewTown PhilsPhan

    Anybody know a good cardiologist in the Milwaukee area?

  • Posts: 2893 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    We dodged a bullet big-time. Bullpen gave up 7 hits in 3 innings.

    If we win this thing, we’ll be battle-tested for the next round. It’s almost good not to sweep to avoid a long lay-off before the NLCS starts. That said….let’s nail this down tomorrow.

    • Posts: 78 PhP54

      Avatar of PhP54

      I am in the minority, but I actually think this lineup may be tougher than Milwaukee’s. You can pitch around Braun and Fielder and pray for the best/ This lineup can single you to death and then the big boys will knock them all in. Be glad Saint Louis had a bad pen or they may have won 103. I think there were 26 or 27 comeback wins against them (my stats could be off)

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    Good point, Chuck A. That was far from lights-out. … Then again, that’s a dangerous damn offense. Right behind them is Milwaukee.

    This will be no cakewalk to the Classic.

  • Posts: 78 PhP54

    Avatar of PhP54

    Since I never said a word about Francisco, I can say this – Bet you haters feel good, huh?!? LOL

    He is always a threat to do that and he may have had a Matt Stairs moment, we will see how the series pans out.

    I, for one, am glad it worked out. I need about 10 Valium to calm down.

  • Posts: 1096 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    Can one hit make a Career. I say yes! I was a Big Benny Fresh fan in ST to get to play. I was a little off base there. But what a hit by the throw in with Lee first time around. The guy I love in ST Antonio Bastardo. And he did his job tonight, sure he gave up a walk, but throw well I thought. And yes the bull pen gave up a few runs, but shut them down when they needed too. I love this game. And Benny Fransico is the Beast at least for one night. I like Little Roy to shut them down tomorrow, would be nice not to have a stressfull game five. Hopefully the bats will come alive against Jackson.
    But tonight is for King Cole and Benny. Sure was not the best Cole pitched game but he did get the big W and did not give up a run. A lot of two out hits and walks and no dingers. To bad his pitch count got up there so fast, but the home grown kid who a few wanted out of here, showed his heart and determination tonight to not let this team lose. GO PHILLIES

  • Posts: 2893 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    On the postgame show on CSN LaRussa is interviewed and says about his club (paraphrasing), “I can speak for all our players and our coaches, but I can’t really speak for the fans, that we have been battling all year and are resilient and will hopefully rise to the occasion.”

    Way to totally diss your fanbase, Tony. Thank God for guys like Charlie.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Yes scared of the Yankees cause they somehow always find a way to win. The Brew crew is scary as well. All the teams have their merits otherwise they wouldnt have reached the post season. Far as im concerned Chuck this team is already battle tested. Basically all these guys have been here before with the exception of some of the Benchers/Rookies.

  • Posts: 1096 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    LaRusso is a joke, the one game he does not over manage and he gets burned. Anyone else out there surprised he did not bring in a right hander there I was. And how about letting him bat in the bottom of the inning with two one and two out in a 0-0 game, I thought for sure he would pinch hit there. This is a very demoralizing game for them. I really thing LaRussa figured this for a win that is why he went with Carp on 3 days rest. Oh well to bad for him.

  • Posts: 81 Tom

    Avatar of Tom

    OMG…where are the trolls? Amazing how a Phils win shuts so many people up!! That being said, what a great game…kudos to the Cards for trying to come back but Mad Dog shut em down when he needed to!!! This is what postseason baseball is all about…the fitting ending to a great night would be a Yankees loss!! Go Tigers!!!!

  • Posts: 20 barry m

    Avatar of barry m

    That was good. That was good. But this bullpen’s gonna lead to a lotta agitta this month..

  • Posts: 542 Morris Buttermaker

    Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

    There is nobody on these boards who complains about Ben Francisco more that I do.

    Hold on… I’m trying to type out something nice about him, and his amazing 3 run game winning home runtonight… the type of play that reminds you why you watch sports in the first place… but ohh no, PhilliesNation only lets me post 5 posts a night…. alas…


  • Posts: 2002 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    What??? Morris, no fan of Benny the Fresh here – surprised and glad! Very glad –
    Taking this in 4 would be nice but I am thinking there will be a game 5 this year (senor Doctober would start, there would not be a question of the outcome).

    • Posts: 542 Morris Buttermaker

      Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

      I can’t stand Ben Francisco. But he made me eat crow tonight.

      It is just a shame that PhilliesNation.com has a policy that if a player you complain about all of the time comes up huge, the website will not let you post

  • Posts: 1096 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I am only concerned with one team in the playoffs and that is the St. Louis Cardnials. Nothing is over until you win 3 games. Win one more in this series and I will be concerned with whom ever wins between the Brewers and D-Backs. Right now I just can not wait to get home and watch this game on DVR all over again. One good thing about being a restaurant manager part of my job is to make sure the bar is running smoothly, and wait that is where the TV’s are. So some people may have waited an extra minute to get a drink cause there was two strikes and a guy on second with two outs. I lOve this game

  • Posts: 0 SavannahPhilliesPhan

    Congratulations to the Phillies and their Phans!!! I had a feeling they would win tonight. I feel like we stole this away from La Russa because I think he felt this one was in the bag. I am hoping that this win tonight will motivate our guys to win tomorrow. I think our young players are feeling a bit of stress.

  • Posts: 0 SavannahPhilliesPhan

    I dont know why everyone is concerned about the Brewers…..didn’t we beat them at their Park 3-1 just recently????

    • Posts: 2893 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Yeah, but we mised their ace starter, Greinke.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Different time Savannha post season is a whole different animal here. The Brew Crew bring a lot to the table. Some compare that team with the 8 Phils but with better starters.

  • Posts: 1096 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    If you force me look ahead, I would be less concerned with a team that wins by scoring runs, then by pitching, see Giants of last year. That is because my extream confidence in this Phillies team pitching situation. I think this series will help the bull pen in the next series if they make it past the Cards. And does anyone really think that Cliff will pitch another game like Sunday next time out? I do not. But lets get passed the Cards first. some of you on here had them winning this series after game one and then losing this series after game 2. So lets just get by the team we are playing and worry about whats next when there is a what’s next

  • Posts: 0 davehist

    Quick one to betasigmadeltashag: Bastardo didn’t walk anyone tonight. He only pitched to one hitter (Punto) and he got him out.
    After Francisco hit his bomb, I said to myself “Just nine outs to go.” Wow, those nine outs were kind of excruciating – but we got them (Madson got five of them). On to Roy O tomorrow and victory!

    • Posts: 1096 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      Nice Catch dave sorry must have been having flashbacks. I just like the kid and think Charlie is using him right to get his head straight, would not be surprised if soon he pitches complete innings

  • Posts: 542 Morris Buttermaker

    Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

    Even with the Diamond Backs currently leading 2-0 in game 3, I feel like the Brewers are going to sweep the series. But I think having 4 days off is going to hurt them. They are playing great ball right now. Probably the best in the playoffs so far. But sitting around for a few days is going to hurt them. Also, they are going to be afraid to pitch Greinke on the road. That kid has no chance at CBP in a playoff game. He might wet his pants on the mound.

  • Posts: 58 LCMRSalazar85

    Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

    Kudos to Mad Dog for holding on, and tip my cap to Bennie Fresh. I’m hoping Oswalt has a similar game tomorrow like he had when we clinched the NLE last month. We need to hit CONSISTENTLY!! 2 of the Cards players collectively have completely out hit the team – Pujos & Theriot.

  • Posts: 0 David

    That’s the crazy thing about baseball. Who expected Francisco to hit a three-run homer off Garcia? LaRussa got a lot of credit last night but today he really screwed up. He saw Worley warming up in the pen in the sixth inning and Hamels had thrown 116 pitches. Did he think that Hamels was going to hit in that situation? It turned out to be a very bad move to walk Ruiz to pitch to Francisco. That intentional walk and the run that scored was the difference in the game.

    Regarding Vance Worley’s performance, the box score is deceiving. Yes, the Cardinals got three hits. But I don’t know if you can make a better pitch on Albert Pujols then Worley did and he still manages to get a bloop hit. Then he gets Berkman to roll over a soft grounder to second for a force out. And, Theriot gets a bloop hit too in the 7th inning.

  • Posts: 2893 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    @ Morris…. Our fans will crucify Greinke.

  • Posts: 542 Morris Buttermaker

    Avatar of Morris Buttermaker
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Roy Oswalt will be stellar tomorrow. He wants to play for the Cardinals next year and this will be his audition. At least that iswhat I have been told.

  • Posts: 0 HotelBar

    I am so stoked with this W tonight. I remember that article a few weeks ago about how we all better have our antacids ready for this postseason. Boy was that right! Ben Fran 3 run bomb? Inning ending DP with Pujols on deck and the bases loaded? Mad Dog with a 4 out save? Are you kidding me? I am not sure how much of that was luck but even if it was: Isn’t it nice to be on this side of the postseason luck factor? After guys like Cody freakin’ Ross and Aubrey Huff getting luck all over us last year, I’ll be the first to say HELL YES!

    I was listening to the Black Lips right now. Great band. In honor of Ryan Madson, for your listening enjoyment:


  • Posts: 5365 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Me-thinks it’s time to start pitching around Mr. Pujols. He and Theriot are killing us. Theriot , a .280 lifetime hitter is on a bit of a hot tear, but we all know Albert is not, he’s a proven vet. Since Berkman is 2 for 12 for the series, I say – lets take our chance with him instead.

    • Posts: 0 Ryan H

      nah. pujols is hurt. I’d rather pitch to him than berkman. I don’t think Pujols has the ability to drive the ball outta the yard right now. atleast not like he normally does. he’s getting lots of bloops hits and little baseknocks. but he’s not full strength

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    Interesting that Jerry Meals continues to blow calls — and then kowtow to the Cards.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    This was not a game… this was a stress test to see if my heart could take the pounding. Fortunately I passed and lived.

    Wow, this was the most intense experienced I have had listening to a game in a while. Extremely nervous throughout. Hopefully the Phils can do my heart a HUGE favor and win 15-0 tomorrow.

    As a side note, I was in St. Louis this weekend. The fans I met were extremely nice to me even when they found out I am a Phillies fan. Although they obviously want their team to win they also appreciate very much that the Phillies did not roll over for the Braves and played out that series.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Ben Francisco showing how helpful it was for the Phillie to clinch early, and allow their bench guys to play a ton over the final two weeks ……

    Tony LaRussa walking Ruiz to force the Phillies to pull Hamels was the right move…. they’d do it again every time and they should. The guy had blanked them thus far and possibly had 10 pitches left…

    I was posting yesterday that I would have Ruiz batting 7th, Polanco 8th for that reason…. Ruiz is much more likely to get an extra base hit, though Polly is proven to be the much better contact hitter ….

    Brad Lidge is absolutely the right man for that spot…. you have/had no idea what Worley will be like from the pen… and you can’t trust Stutes since he hasn’t been sharp in about 6 weeks. .. Lidge gave up hits, not walks … That said, MADSON WAS AMAZING last night.

    Hamels, Francisco, Madson carrying the Phillies to the 2-1 series lead!

  • [...] Ruben Amaro Jr. Pat Gillen of Phillies Nation: “Ben Francisco did what?!? Francisco, pinch-hitting in the seventh inning for pitcher Cole [...]

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