PHILADELPHIA -- This is a trick, isn't it? The way the St. Louis Cardinals are setting this up, it looks suspiciously as if it might be a referendum on how smart the rest of us are.
We wrote them off once, back in early September when they were 8 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.
You and the Atlanta Braves know what happened after that.
Now, after they blew an early lead in Game 1 of this Division Series and then fell behind by four runs against Cliff Lee in the second inning of Game 2, yes, just when it looked as if it was safe to write them off again ... BAM!
The Cardinals undressed Lee, a tag-team of six relievers redeemed Chris Carpenter's awful start and Tony LaRussa's gang swiped one from the Phillies, 5-4.
This was a game made for LaRussa. He used four different pitchers in the eighth inning alone. And it worked.
The Cardinals have to feel great about this one, and not just because of the win. But because of how they earned that win.
Rafael Furcal chopped a leadoff triple in the first ... but his teammates failed to score him.
David Freese drilled a leadoff double in the second ... and never moved as St. Louis blew another early opportunity against Lee.
St. Louis was 0 for 6 alone in the first two innings with runners in scoring position. And Carpenter was so off that LaRussa ripped plate umpire Jerry Meals during his mid-game television interview for having two different strike zones for Carpenter and Lee. Blatently untrue.
But somehow, Phillies mustered just two baserunners against the not-so-vaunted Cardinals' bullpen over the last five innings. The Cardinals drove Lee from the game in the seventh.
And they drove this series back to St. Louis even.