BENNY! MAD DOG! Francisco's Pinch-Hit Homer Propels Phils to Wild Win

BENNY! MAD DOG! Francisco's Pinch-Hit Homer Propels Phils to Wild Win

In case of emergency... USE BEN FRANCISCO!??!?

And Ryan Madson for sure. Oh my. Breathe. Don't forget to breathe. Phew.

With two outs in the seventh inning of a scoreless ball game and Shane Victorino standing on second base, St. Louis Cardinals' Manager Tony LaRussa opted to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz to get to the pitcher's spot, where pinch-hitter Ben Francisco waited for his chance to become legendary.

Jaime Garcia delivered a high fastball that found way too much of the plate, and with one swing of the bat Benny Fresh propelled himself from unheralded, oft maligned bench player to potential playoff hero. [photos + audio + video below]

Francisco's three-run home run landed in the Phillies bullpen at Busch Stadium, putting the Phils up 3-0 and instantly silencing the crowd.

The combination of Vance Worley, Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge, and Ryan Madson finished off the game that Cole Hamels started (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 hits, 8 Ks for Cole). Not without an unhealthy dose of agita, mind you. We're not complaining though... Ya gotta get to October to feel that burn.

Charlie Manuel called on Ryan Madson with only one out in the eighth inning and the bases loaded thanks to Worley, Bastardo, and Lidge, but Mad Dog got the job done. Madson forced Allen Craig to ground sharply to Chase Utley, who turned two, tagging second himself and firing one to first to end the ginormous threat in the eighth.

Madson allowed the winning run to come to the plate in the ninth after Albert Pujols — hate that guy! — doubled and Molina singled to bring the Cards to within one. Finally, Madson got the pesky Ryan Theriot — hate that guy more! — to ground out to Chase.




With the wild 3-2 win on Tuesday night, the Phillies now take a commanding 2-1 lead in the NLDS and regain home field advantage and have Roy Oswalt pitching for the series win tomorrow night.

Ben Francisco: freshly minted recipient of free beers for life in the city of Philadelphia.

[watch video of Ben Francisco's pinch-hit 3-run home run in game 3 of the NLDS here]

Photos by US Presswire

Audio of Scott Franzke's radio call below:

Upload MP3s using free MP3 hosting from Tindeck.

Thanks to MarkM625 for the audio.

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple Men’s Basketball adds two players to 2016-17 roster

Temple men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy announced that the team has added two players to its 2016-17 roster. 

The Owls will announce the two new transfers, junior’s Isaiah Lewis and Steve Leonard, Thursday night at the Liacouras Center at the team’s Cherry and White Night. 

Lewis comes to Temple after playing for Casper College in Wyoming last season, where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.2 assists per game. Before his stint at Casper College, the 6-4 guard also played at Lee Junior College in Texas, and averaged 10.0 points and 4.7 assists per game.

Leonard, a 6-6 guard from Collegeville, Pa., played two seasons at Ursinus College. He averaged 5.6 points over 43 games during his career at Ursinus. 

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

Brett Brown: Sixers' Nik Stauskas set for 'breakout year'

CAMDEN, N.J. — The irony of Nik Stauskas’ reputation as a three-point shooter is that he doesn’t view himself that way.

Stauskas was drafted eighth overall by the Kings in 2014 after shooting 44.1 percent from three over two years at Michigan. But that’s not how he envisioned himself being in the pros.

“It’s crazy,” Stauskas said after practice Thursday. “I know I was a great shooter coming out of Michigan, but I don’t consider myself a shooter. I consider myself a gamer. I don’t think I’m an effective NBA player when I just stand and spot up and shoot threes. That’s really not my game.”

Stauskas has struggled to find offensive consistency in the NBA. The third-year two-guard averaged 32.4 percent from long range in his first two seasons. He wasn’t reliable as a knockdown shooter and bounced in and out of the starting lineup last season.

Rather than being a finesse player, Brett Brown encouraged Stauskas to get aggressive. Brown wanted to a see an edge from Stauskas and not hold back at the basket.

Stauskas displayed that side to his game on opening night against the Thunder. In 23 minutes off the bench, he scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting. His only miss came on a three-point attempt. His 83.3 shooting percentage was a single-game career high.

“He was cocky,” Brown said. “He was in attack mode. He was not afraid to put it to the floor and get to the rim. I feel like he’s got a real chance to have a breakout year. We need him to have a breakout year.”

The Sixers picked up the options on Stauskas, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on Thursday.

“I think the statement the club made on his contract lets him probably have a little bit more comfort on what we think of him,” Brown said. “I was really happy with his swagger last night.”

Stauskas is figuring out his role on the Sixers this season. It is one that can change often given injuries. A key to being successful, whether he is on the perimeter or at the rim, is feeling confident and in a rhythm on the floor.

“I had fun out there,” Stauskas said. “More than anything, I think yesterday was the first time in a while that I’ve really enjoyed myself out there and had a smile on my face.”