Philadelphia at St. Louis

Scoreboard
Philadelphia (2-2)200000010371
St. Louis (2-2) «10020200x560

Freese's HR lifts Cards over Phils, forces Game 5

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. LOUIS -- Big swings by a slumping hitter, clutch innings by a journeyman pitcher. Suddenly, the St. Louis Cardinals are looking very dangerous.

As for the Philadelphia Phillies? Things have turned downright squirrelly.

David Freese, shut down by Phillies aces the first three games, became a hometown star Wednesday night. He homered, doubled and drove in four runs as the Cardinals defeated nemesis Roy Oswalt and forced a deciding fifth game in their NL playoff series by beating the favored Phillies 5-3.

NLDS: Phillies at Cardinals
Columns
Danny Knobler Danny Knobler
Squirrels or not, Game 5 between Cards, Phils will be just perfect Read More >>
Related links
Eye on Baseball news | Follow on Twitter

"This is what you worked for," said Freese, a local prep star who came to the Cardinals in a trade for Jim Edmonds after the 2007 season. "Just to do this in front of the fans of St. Louis and a bunch of friends and family, it's amazing."

Center fielder Jon Jay made a sliding catch on Placido Polanco's soft fly for the final out, and was already pointing his index finger before he got to his feet.

"We're not looking at this like we're just happy to be here and it's David and Goliath," Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman said.

Now it's back to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Friday night. Roy Halladay, who won the opener for the Phillies, will face St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter -- they were teammates in Toronto for five years.

"Might be fitting that it goes down to the fifth game," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's up to us to go get it. It's sitting right there for us. We've got our ace going, and we're at home, and so everything is sitting right there."

The 102-win Phillies were picked by many to win it all. But first they must dispose of the wild-card Cardinals, who clinched a playoff spot on the last day of the season and have gotten the best of two members of the Phils' star-studded rotation.

An omen, maybe: Right after Oswalt threw a pitch in the fifth, a squirrel darted across the plate.

Oswalt argued, unsuccessfully, that the creature's dash had distracted him on a pitch called a ball.

"I didn't want to stop in the middle of my motion, so I threw it," Oswalt said. "I was wondering what size of animal it needed to be for it not to be a pitch."

Manuel argued, to no avail.

"Of course, being from the South and being a squirrel hunter, if I had a gun there, might have did something," Manuel said. "I'm a pretty good shot."

Albert Pujols was hitless in four at-bats in what could have been his final home game with the Cardinals. He received thunderous cheers every trip to the plate from a standing room crowd of 47,071, second-largest at 6-year-old Busch Stadium.

Pujols made his presence known on defense, catching Chase Utley going for an extra base in the sixth. Utley drew a leadoff walk and kept running on Hunter Pence's grounder to short, but Pujols alertly jumped off first base to catch the throw and made a sharp relay to third for the out.

"This is obviously the playoffs, but that's a play I can make in the regular season, too," Pujols said. "If I would have stayed on the bag, it was going to be tough to get the runner at third. Obviously, that killed the rally right there."

Edwin Jackson recovered from a rocky beginning to win his first playoff start. After giving up two runs on his first five pitches, he wound up throwing six solid innings. Jason Motte worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the series.

Phillies cleanup hitter Ryan Howard, like Freese a St. Louis product, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He is 0 for 8 the last two games with five strikeouts and has hit only one ball out of the infield.

"I think I've been a little bit anxious trying to go up and trying to make things happen instead of letting things happen," Howard said. "Right now I'm just kind of jumping, so just try to recognize pitches better."

Oswalt had been 5-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 previous postseason starts, the biggest closing out old Busch Stadium and the Cardinals in 2005 to get Houston to its first World Series. The right-hander also worked seven shutout innings against St. Louis in the Phillies' NL East division clincher in mid-September.

"It's good to get some early runs, for sure," Oswalt said. "I felt pretty comfortable after that. Just two bad pitches."

The biggest jolts for the Cardinals came from their seventh-place hitter. Freese was 2 for 12 the first three games with one RBI before punishing the fourth of the Phillies' aces.

Freese's two-run double down the third-base line in the fourth put St. Louis up 3-2. His two-run homer to straightaway center in the sixth whipped the crowd into a towel-waving frenzy.

Oswalt walked Berkman and hit Matt Holliday, making his first start of the series, to start the fourth. Pence made a fine running catch on the right field warning track to rob Yadier Molina of extra bases, but Freese jumped on a hanging curveball with a drive down the left-field line.

Holliday singled with one out in the sixth and Freese hit a 1-0 pitch to the pasture in straightaway center, not far from where a squirrel made an early appearance, for a three-run cushion. A squirrel also interrupted play in the fifth, racing across the plate an instant after Oswalt's pitch to Skip Schumaker passed for a ball.

Oswalt argued with plate umpire Angel Hernandez, asking for no pitch. On the next, Schumaker flied out.

In Game 3 Tuesday, a squirrel was seen scampering in foul territory along the third base line.

Five pitches into the game, the Phillies had a 2-0 lead with an assist from the late-afternoon playing conditions.

Jay, standing in bright sunshine while shadows, took one step in on leadoff man Jimmy Rollins' drive on the first pitch of the game and retreated too late for a ball just over his glove that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Utley tripled just inside the first-base line three pitches later and Pence lined an RBI single on the next pitch.

Notes

  • 2B Schumaker was taken out with a left hamstring cramp after a flyout in the fifth -- the same at-bat the squirrel made its appearance. After disrupting play, the squirrel scampered through the stands. Schumaker is 5 for 8 in the series.
  • Rollins doubled and had an infield hit his first two trips and has nine hits in the series. He has 14 multihit games in the playoffs, passing Howard for most in franchise history.
  • The Cardinals became the second team to reach 100 postseason victories, trailing only the Yankees' 220.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
St. Louis

D. Freese
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Philadelphia

C. Utley
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 26, 2014
Fantasy Update: Zach Ertz (0:39)
December 22, 2014
NFL Monday QB: Mark Sanchez struggling
(1:39)
December 22, 2014
Eagles at Giants Preview
(3:20)
December 21, 2014
TOPS: Bart Scott talks NFL headlines (12/21)
(7:01)

CBSSports.com Shop

Mens Chicago Cubs Nike Royal Blue Classic Pullover Hoodie

MLB Cold Weather Gear
Get your favorite team
Shop Now

Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jimmy Rollins, SS4120002 .563
Chase Utley, 2B3121101 .462
Hunter Pence, RF4011003 .267
Ryan Howard, 1B4000032 .133
Shane Victorino, CF4000001 .250
Raul Ibanez, LF4000030 .250
Placido Polanco, 3B4010000 .125
Carlos Ruiz, C3000011 .071
Roy Oswalt, P1000000 .000
    Joe Blanton, P0000000 .000
   a- Ross Gload, PH10100001.000
    Michael Martinez, PR0100000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals3237217  
a-singled for Blanton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (4, Jackson)
3B - Chase Utley (1, Jackson)
SH - Roy Oswalt (1)
RBI - Chase Utley (1), Hunter Pence (4)
CS - Hunter Pence (1, 2nd base by Jackson/Molina)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Shane Victorino (1, Throwing)
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Roy Oswalt (L,0-1) 6655151 7.50
Joe Blanton 1000000 0.00
Brad Lidge 1000010 0.00
HBP - Holliday (by Roy Oswalt)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 82-56, Joe Blanton 8-7, Brad Lidge 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 6-7, Joe Blanton 2-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 26, Joe Blanton 3, Brad Lidge 3
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS4000010 .222
Skip Schumaker, 2B3120000 .625
    Ryan Theriot, 2B1000000 .600
Albert Pujols, 1B4000012 .412
Lance Berkman, RF3111100 .200
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Matt Holliday, LF3210011 .400
Yadier Molina, C3000012 .200
David Freese, 3B3124010 .267
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
    Adron Chambers, RF0000000 .500
Jon Jay, CF3000001 .182
Edwin Jackson, P2000011 .000
    Daniel Descalso, 3B1000000 .000
Totals3056516  
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (1, Oswalt), David Freese (2, Oswalt)
HR - David Freese (1, Oswalt)
RBI - Lance Berkman (4), David Freese 4 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (1), David Freese 2 (3)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Molina-Furcal
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson (W,1-0) 6522140 3.00
Arthur Rhodes (H,2) 0.1000010 0.00
Octavio Dotel (H,1) 0.2000000 0.00
Fernando Salas (H,1) 0.2211000 2.45
Marc Rzepczynski (H,2) 0.1000010 27.00
Jason Motte (S,2) 1000010 0.00
WP - Fernando Salas (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 77-51, Arthur Rhodes 4-3, Octavio Dotel 7-4, Fernando Salas 17-10, Marc Rzepczynski 3-3, Jason Motte 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 8-5, Octavio Dotel 1-1, Fernando Salas 2-0, Jason Motte 1-1
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 23, Arthur Rhodes 1, Octavio Dotel 2, Fernando Salas 4, Marc Rzepczynski 1, Jason Motte 3
Game Information
Attendance - 47071
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Chris Guccione