David Freese knocked in four of the Cardinals’ five runs with a double and home run off Phillies starter Roy Oswalt, and St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson recovered from a shaky start to pitch six strong innings, propelling St. Louis to a 5-3 victory.
Jackson was in trouble early, after Jimmy Rollins led off with a double that Jon Jay appeared to lose in the sun. Chase Utley’s triple made it 1-0 before there was an out on the board. Hunter Pence singled Utley home, but that was all the Phils would get against Jackson in the first.
Ryan Howard struck out looking and Pence was caught stealing second, although second-base umpire Chad Fairchild appeared to have missed the call. Coincidence or not, it sent the Phillies into an offensive funk, similar to the one they faced in the final seven innings of Game 2 and the first six of Game 3.
Jackson retired 17 of the next 20 batters he faced before Arthur Rhodes replaced him in the seventh. The Phillies scored a run in the eighth and had a runner on second with one out, but Pence grounded out and Howard struck out swinging on three pitches.
Oswalt, who had never lost in 10 postseason starts, allowed a run in the first inning and two runs in the fourth to hand the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Oswalt walked Lance Berkman and hit Matt Holliday with a pitch, before Freese doubled into the left-field corner to score both runners.
Freese got to Oswalt one more time in the sixth, when he crushed a two-run, home run to center field to make it 5-2.
Three things we saw at the park
WP: E. Jackson (1-0)
LP: Roy Oswalt (0-1)
1. Start me up.
The Phillies’ double-play combination of Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins has been taking advantage of their improved health. Rollins came within a foot or so of hitting two home runs in Game 2 and is 9-for-16 with four doubles in the series. Utley has reached base nine times in the first four games, twice on doubles and once on a triple.
2. History lesson.
Ben Francisco’s pinch-hit home run in Game 3 was the first for Philadelphia since 2008. The previous five pinch-hit homers in Phillies postseason history: Eric Bruntlett, 2008 World Series; Matt Stairs, 2008 NLCS; George Vukovich, 1981 NLDS; Bake McBride, 1978 NLCS; Jerry Martin 1978 NLCS.
3. Feeling squirrelly?
With the score 3-2 in favor of St. Louis, a squirrel, the same kind of critter who dashed across the field Tuesday, made its return in the fifth inning, racing from the first-base dugout and running past home plate while Roy Oswalt delivered a pitch to Skip Schumaker. Oswalt raised his hands in protest that the pitch should have been called a strike as the squirrel darted into the stands looking for a peanut vendor.