Don’t make Roy Halladay mad.
The Phillies ace was fuming when he returned to the dugout after giving up a home run in the first inning in Game 1 of the NLDS to Lance Berkman.
“Yeah, I was upset,” Halladay said. “But you have your moment of frustration and you’ve got to move on.”
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Halladay certainly moved on. He reverted to his familiar dominating form to earn the win in an 11-6 victory Saturday night over the St. Louis Cardinals.
After giving up Berkman’s three-run blast, Halladay settled into a groove that recalled his mastery of the Reds in Game 1 of last season’s NLDS. Halladay set down 21 Cardinals in a row. After getting knocked to the canvas, Halladay, who gave up three hits and three runs in eight innings, got up and took care of the Cards.
“He was kind of like a Rocky movie,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He got mad after he gave up the homer. That ticked him off and he hung in there and got going. But he’s special. He’s everything that people talk about.”
Phillies fans are buzzing about Ryan Howard. The ‘Big Piece’ delivered in the clutch with a three-run homer that gave the Phillies a lead in the sixth they wouldn’t relinquish.
“It was big,” Howard said of his homer, “[Cardinals pitcher Kyle] Lohse came out and he was throwing very well, mixing it up. We knew it was just a matter of time. We just needed to get the momentum on our side.”
When the ball Howard drilled landed in the right field seats, momentum shifted. Lohse followed by giving up a two-run home run to Raul Ibanez.
Lohse, now 0-3 lifetime in the playoffs, knows a little something about giving up homers at Citizens Bank Park during the NLDS. Kaz Matsui hit a dinger off Lohse back when he was wearing red pinstripes, in Game 2 of the NLDS in 2007. That was the beginning of the end for the Phillies in that brief playoff run.
But it was going to be a tough night for Lohse and most other pitchers against an offense that appears to be on track. The Phillies tied a club record with 14 hits. Everybody had a hit except for Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz. Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had three hits and Howard came through with four RBIs.
Cards manager Tony LaRussa didn’t think the three-run, first-inning lead would hold.
“We were saying in the dugout, ‘Three runs was not going to win the game,’” LaRussa said.
The cerebral LaRussa was right. If the Phillies hit like this during the rest of the series, it could be brief.
“A lot of people talk about our pitching but we have great hitting too,” Hunter Pence said. “There’s more to this team than great pitching. We can hit. We showed that tonight. We can do it all.”