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.

Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

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.

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip -- their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.

Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.

The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.

Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row (see full recap).

Coyotes use three-goal 1st period to beat Ducks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata capped Arizona's three-goal first period and the Coyotes held on for 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun also scored for Arizona, and starting goalie Mike Smith had 27 saves before leaving about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period after a collision in the net. Marek Langhamer helped kill a power play after being pressed into action for his NHL debut and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.

The Coyotes have won four of their last six.

Langhamer gave up Ryan Getzlaf's second goal of the night with 26.8 seconds to play, but thwarted two quality shots in the final seconds.

Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on six shots in the first period for the Ducks. John Gibson came on to start the second and stopped all 14 shots he faced (see full recap).

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.

After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.

Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.

"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.

"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."

Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below. 

Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon.