Halladay Settles Down, Bats Heat Up, And Phillies Clobber Cards 11-6

Roy Halladay retired the final 21 batters he faced, and the Phillies scored ten runs in the span of three innings as Philadelphia took a 1-0 series lead over St. Louis.

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Cardinals Vs. Phillies: Highlights From The Game 1 Live-Blog

The Philadelphia Phillies' offense erupted on Saturday night in Game 1 of their NLDS matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals en route to an 11-6 win. Roy Halladay toyed with his prey momentarily, allowing the Cardinals to jump out to an early lead before slamming the door and looking like his usual dominant self while earning the win.

Below are some of the highlights of the Baseball Nation live-blog, which tells the story of the game in bite-sized portions.

Halladay got off to a less than ideal start, giving up a single to Rafael Furcal, a walk to Albert Pujols, and throwing this pitch to Lance Berkman.

Berkmanhalladay_medium_medium

You can probably figure out where this ball ended up (SPOILER: the seats). With one swing of the bat, the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead after just an inning.

As Grant Brisbee noted, Berkman's home run was quite surprising as Halladay just doesn't give up three-run home runs very often.

The last time he allowed a three-run home run? It was August 21, 2008, when Hideki Matsui hit one against Halladay.

As Halladay labored through the first inning, Kyle Lohse hit the ground running for the Cardinals. Through three innings, Lohse had thrown just 23 pitches and had yet to allow a base-runner.

In all seriousness, though, Lohse is cruising, even if he's not missing any bats. And after the iffy first inning, Halladay is looking like his regular robot self. The Cardinals might not score again. But if the Phillies don't start driving the ball against Kyle Lohse -- Kyle Lohse -- the Cardinals won't need to score.

Lohse bid for a 69-pitch perfect game went out the window in the fourth as the Phillies got on the board on a Shane Victorino RBI single. And then the wheels came off, with Philadelphia tagging Lohse for five more runs in the sixth, three of which came on a Ryan Howard home run.

Lohse's line? 5⅓ innings, 6 runs. You'd never know from looking at that that Lohse retired the first ten guys he faced. Dotel retired the next two guys to end the sixth, but now the Cardinals are behind three with nine outs to go, and Roy Halladay has set down 15 batters in a row. Things...things don't look so good for St. Louis.

The Phillies added three more runs in the seventh, turning what appeared to be a close game early into rout. Meanwhile, Halladay continued to roll.

As I've written this, Halladay has retired the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. That's 21 in a row. He's Roy Halladay.

The final score was 11-6, but the outburst by the Phillies' bats, more than making up for Halladay's shaky first inning, probably doesn't bode well for the Cardinals. With the win, Philadelphia took a 1-0 series lead, and stands just two games away from an NLCS berth.

For more on the game, be sure to read through the live-blog and Jeff Sullivan's game recap.

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Roy Halladay Human, Then Not Human As Phillies Sink Cardinals

Roy Halladay spotted the Cardinals an early lead, but it didn't hold up as the Cards bats went cold and the Phillies bats got hot.

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Phillies Bats Turn NLDS Game 1 Into A Laugher

Trailing Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals 3-1 into the sixth inning, the Phillies righted the ship when Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez chased Lohse from the mound with five runs' worth of homers. That half-inning put the Phillies on top 6-3, and with Roy Halladay still on the hill, a win looked all but certain.

A win is now even more certain than before. In the top of the seventh, Halladay retired his 16th, 17th, and 18th consecutive hitters to keep the score where it was. Then the Phillies added on against the Cardinals bullpen.

In the bottom half, the first three reached on singles, including Halladay himself, who reached on an infield grounder. Two batters later, Ryan Howard narrowly missed a backbreaking grand slam, but still successfully hit a sac fly to push the score to 7-3.

Then Shane Victorino singled to right field. 8-3. Then Raul Ibanez singled to right field. 9-3. Placido Polanco flew out, but no matter - the Cardinals needed a run for every remaining out just to tie, and that's how you know a game is in hand.

As I've written this, Halladay has retired the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. That's 21 in a row. He's Roy Halladay.

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Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez Light Up Kyle Lohse In Sixth

Four batters into this game, the Cardinals offense gave Kyle Lohse a three-run advantage over Roy Halladay. For so long, it held up. But it couldn't hold up long enough.

It was still 3-0 St. Louis in the bottom of the fourth when the Phillies pushed across their first run. Even so, the deficit was two, and it remained at two going into the bottom of the sixth. At that point, the Cardinals needed to hold on for just 12 more outs to escape with a huge and unexpected victory.

They might still escape with a huge and unexpected victory, but in order for them to do that, now they'll have to come back. Jimmy Rollins led off with a ground ball single up the middle. Two batters later, Hunter Pence hit another ground ball single up the middle to put the tying run on base.

Another way of saying "tying run on base" is "go-ahead run at the plate." Ryan Howard batted and worked a full count, barely tipping a low strikeout changeup. Two pitches later, Lohse hung a changeup up in the zone, and Howard annihilated the pitch, sending a three-run dinger out to right-center to put the Phillies in front 4-3.

If only it ended there. It didn't end there. Shane Victorino followed Howard with a - you guessed it - ground ball single up the middle. That brought Raul Ibanez, and in a 2-and-0 count, Ibanez got another hanging changeup and lined it out to right. So, 3-1 went to 4-3 to 6-3, and in a flash, Lohse had been chased from the game and replaced by Octavio Dotel.

Lohse's line? 5⅓ innings, 6 runs. You'd never know from looking at that that Lohse retired the first ten guys he faced. Dotel retired the next two guys to end the sixth, but now the Cardinals are behind three with nine outs to go, and Roy Halladay has set down 15 batters in a row. Things...things don't look so good for St. Louis.

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Shane Victorino Gets Phillies On Board In Fourth

Lance Berkman caught the entire audience by surprise when, in the top of the first inning, he launched a three-run homer off Roy Halladay to put the Cardinals in front of the Phillies 3-0. It was only three runs, but I don't think a lot of people - particularly the Phillies themselves - anticipated that the Phillies would have to come back.

For three innings, they didn't make any progress. Halladay found a groove, but Kyle Lohse set down the first nine Phillies he faced on 23 pitches. Entering the bottom of the fourth, the 3-0 score had held up.

But the Phillies got on the board, and they got on the board in part thanks to a defensive mishap. With one out, Chase Utley ripped a ringing double off the top of the right field fence to give the Phillies their first baserunner. With two outs, Ryan Howard drew a walk. That brought Shane Victorino to the plate as the tying run, and where it looked like the runners would be stranded when Victorino lifted a pop-up into foul territory, third baseman David Freese couldn't make the catch, giving the Phillies new life.

Victorino took advantage of the opportunity. He didn't wow anybody or anything, but he pulled a ground ball single into left field to score Utley and trim the deficit to 3-1. It went in the books as an unearned run, but, more importantly, it went in the books as a run.

Raul Ibanez subsequently flew out, but now the Phillies have something. And Halladay worked a 1-2-3 fifth while I was writing this. Halladay has retired the last 12 guys he's faced. With Halladay rolling, the Phillies are behind, but they're very much alive.

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Kyle Lohse Is On A Historic Pace

So far, through three scoreless innings against the Phillies, Kyle Lohse has thrown just 23 pitches, putting him on pace to through 69 in a complete game.

Since 2000, the fewest pitches thrown in a playoff complete game were 99, by Mark Buehrle against the Angels in 2005. Why, Lohse is on pace to beat that mark by 30!

Also Lohse is on pace to throw a perfect game without any strikeouts. Kyle Lohse is amazing!

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Kyle Lohse Holding Phillies Hitless, Cardinals Still Lead 3-0 Through Three Innings

Kyle Lohse has thrown 23 pitches through three innings. He's thrown 18 strikes and hasn't allowed a runner.

Again. Kyle Lohse.

Roy Halladay is all over the place. He walked a hitter and gave up a home run. Even Kyle Kendrick could have done that, and then would have all focused on a Kyle-on-Kyle theme in the days and weeks leading up to the game. Instead, we were promised dominance, and we're getting it from the wrong pitcher.

In all seriousness, though, Lohse is cruising, even if he's not missing any bats. And after the iffy first inning, Halladay is looking like his regular robot self. The Cardinals might not score again. But if the Phillies don't start driving the ball against Kyle Lohse -- Kyle Lohse -- the Cardinals won't need to score.

(And, yes, I know Lohse was good this year. Not sure if I buy it. He must have had a bunch of starts against the Giants and Mariners.)

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Roy Halladay Doesn't Allow A Lot Of Three Run Home Runs

Stunning headline, isn't it? The last time Halladay allowed a home run with someone on base, it was June 5th. Neil Walker hit it for the contending Pittsburgh Pirates.

The last time he allowed a three-run home run? It was August 21, 2008, when Hideki Matsui hit one against Halladay.

So when Lance Berkman took him deep for a three-run homer, it was especially unusual. It might be even more unusual that Halladay walked Albert Pujols prior to the home run. According to my research 1, Halladay hasn't walked a hitter since 2005. That was probably the most egregious sin of the inning.

1. It could be a guess, actually. But it's a pretty good guess, so I'm just going to stand by it.

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Lance Berkman Pounds Roy Halladay, Gives Cardinals Early Lead

Game 1 of the Cardinals/Phillies NLDS matches Kyle Lohse against Roy Halladay. Simple, right? Lohse and the Cardinals give up five or six runs. Halladay and the Phillies give up one or two runs. The Phillies win, and they don't break a sweat.

There's just one problem - games aren't all about the starting pitcher matchups. Roy Halladay is an absolutely phenomenal starting pitcher, yes. Maybe - probably - the best in baseball. But the Cardinals have a good offense. They led the National League in everything this past season. And in the top of the first inning on Saturday, the Cardinals got out to a lead.

A solid lead. Rafael Furcal grounded Halladay's second pitch of the game into right field for a single. Two batters later, Albert Pujols walked on four pitches, bringing Lance Berkman to the plate. Berkman posted a .959 OPS during the year, and Halladay did this:

Berkmanhalladay_medium

That's bad. If you're Halladay. That's good, if you're Berkman. Berkman jumped all over the first-pitch centered fastball and blasted it out to right for a three-run homer that certainly took everyone in the ballpark by surprise.

Halladay wouldn't surrender any more runs in the inning, but in the bottom half Lohse went 1-2-3, and after one it's Cardinals 3, Phillies 0. Weird, right? Sometimes, good hitting beats good pitching. Sometimes, good hitting crushes good pitching.

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Philadelphia Phillies NLDS Game 1 Starting Lineup

The Phillies rode into the playoffs on the back of an incredible starting staff, but then October 1 rolled around and Charlie Manuel realized he had to call all his regular position players back from vacation. Here's the starting lineup he'll put up against Kyle Lohse, provided Ryan Howard returns in time from Capri:

Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Hunter Pence, RF
Ryan Howard, 1B
Shane Victorino, CF
Raul Ibanez, LF
Placido Polanco, 3B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Roy Halladay, SP

It's just...it's such a typical Phillies lineup. It's the same players as ever. This thing is boring. It's good, but it's boring. It also isn't something that looks like it'll get shut down by Kyle Lohse, but who knows, since this is the playoffs, and perhaps my immediate opinion of Kyle Lohse doesn't mirror reality.

If I'm the Cardinals, I try to hit everything into left field. Or right back up the middle. Like, up the middle, on a line. Maybe it's cruel to try to injure the opposing pitcher but it's not like anyone could ever prove intent. I'm just spitballing here.

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St. Louis Cardinals NLDS Game 1 Starting Lineup

The last of the four division series is set to kick off in Philadelphia a little later on Saturday, and now we've got word on the nine guys Tony La Russa will send up against Roy Halladay:

Rafael Furcal, SS
Allen Craig, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Lance Berkman, LF
David Freese, 3B
Yadier Molina, C
Skip Schumaker, 2B
Jon Jay, CF
Kyle Lohse, SP

Here's a list of the big surprises:

 

The first thing that does stand out is that Furcal is in there, leading off. Furcal was bothered by a minor hamstring problem earlier in the week, but he seems to have recovered to his normal level of injury-proneness, which is "severe". Nick Punto will be available on the bench should Furcal have something happen, but for the time being all systems are go.

And Allen Craig is starting in right field over Matt Holliday. This was long suspected, but now it's official, as Holliday is sidelined with a finger injury that bothered him for much of September. It's a big blow to the Cardinals' chances:

Holliday: 153 OPS+
Craig: 153 OPS+

Oh, right. So the Cardinals should be okay then. Except for the whole Roy Halladay thing. The Cardinals might not be okay on account of Roy Halladay.

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NL Division Series Preview: Cardinals vs. Phillies

The St. Louis Cardinals sneaked into the playoffs on a miracle. The Philadelphia Phillies have been a playoff lock since May. Who's got the edge?

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Cardinals Vs. Phillies, NLDS Game 1 Preview: Time, TV Schedule, Pitchers And More

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay begins his second quest for a World Series when he gets the Game 1 start for the Philadelphia Phillies against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park at 5:07pm ET on Saturday afternoon.

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