The St. Louis Cardinals faced a difficult task on Sunday night, down a game in their NLDS matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies and facing Cliff Lee in Game 2. St. Louis was facing the very real possibility of heading back home down 0-2, but came up big after falling behind early by crawling back to take the second game of the series by a 5-4 margin.
While the Cardinals and Phillies were battling it out on the field, the Baseball Nation staff was hammering away at the live-blog, providing updates and tidbits throughout the game. Below are some of the highlights.
Cliff Lee's night didn't get off to the best start as he gave up a leadoff triple to Rafael Furcal. But this is Cliff Lee we're talking about, and a runner on third with nobody out simply didn't phase him. Lee struck out Allen Craig, induced a pop-out by Albert Pujols and suddenly a runner on third with nobody out became a runner on third with two down. It was all up to Lance Berkman.
It went to waste. Berkman grounded out, Lee worked around the triple, and now the Cardinals have a half-inning they might come to really regret in an hour or two.
After wasting the opportunity, the Cardinals put themselves in an early hole, with Chris Carpenter struggling in the first inning. Carpenter was pitching on short rest, which may not have been the best idea.
After a visit from pitching coach Dave Duncan, Carpenter did escape with Placido Polanco's double-play grounder. But starting on short rest, Carpenter has put his team in a three-run hole against one of the four or five best pitchers on earth.
Hey, it might work!
After St. Louis shot itself in the foot again in the second, Grant Brisbee had a few helpful tips for cracking the Phillies' code.
1. Acquire Jose Bautista
2. Hope Cliff Lee gets tired
3. Make sure that Charlie Manuel doesn't pull Lee after he gets tired
Somehow, the Cardinals were able to get to Lee in the fourth, turning a 4-0 deficit into a 4-3 deficit. But still, St. Louis wasn't doing itself any favors, as this handy gif shows.
Probably should've been a tie ballgame.
In the sixth, the Cardinals did manage to tie it up on a Ryan Theriot single that score Jon Jay. After holding the Phillies' offense at bay, St. Louis finally broke through in the seventh, thanks in large part to Allen Craig's triple. This was how close Allen Craig came to not having a triple.
Pujols singled to drive in Craig and the Cardinals took a 5-4 lead. While it was the slimmest of margins, the St. Louis pitching held, keeping the Phillies off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. Along the way, Chase Utley almost killed a guy. But the Cardinals survived and lived to fight another day, evening the series with a 5-4 win in Philadelphia.