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:
Thanks to MarkM625 for the audio.