for this game

Pinch power: Francisco's HR lifts Phils over Cards in Game 3

Oct 5, 2011 - 4:50 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Ben Francisco's pinch-hit, seventh-inning three-run home run snapped a scoreless contest and Ryan Madson recorded the final five outs, as the Philadelphia Phillies claimed a narrow 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of this NL Division Series from Busch Stadium.

Jimmy Rollins collected a pair of hits for the Phillies, who took a 2-1 edge in the best-of-five set.

Cole Hamels (1-0) worked six scoreless innings, allowed five hits and walked three, but despite fanning eight, labored at times thanks to throwing 117 pitches.

"Yeah, it's just -- it was a tight game. I knew that every pitch mattered, every inning mattered," Hamels said about how his previous postseason experience allowed him to grind it out on the mound. 'They had a great pitcher on the opposing team, so I knew that I couldn't let it get out of hand, especially with just the way we were 1-1 in the series. We're not in our home park anymore. You definitely focus and try to dig deep a little bit more."

Madson came on to diffuse a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the eighth by inducing an inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Allen Craig. He served up a two-out RBI single to Yadier Molina in the ninth, but recovered to retire Ryan Theriot on a grounder to second to earn his first save of this postseason.

Albert Pujols finished 4-for-5 with three doubles, and David Freese knocked in a run for the Cardinals, who are one loss from elimination after stranding 14 runners.

Jaime Garcia (0-1) was tagged in defeat for three runs on six hits over seven full frames.

Philadelphia has its first chance to advance to its fourth straight NLCS in Game 4, set for Wednesday evening. Roy Oswalt is expected to take the hill for the Phils, opposed by Edwin Jackson.

Shane Victorino began the Philadelphia seventh with a line single to center, then advanced on a passed ball. Garcia retired the next two batters, but Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked for pinch-hitter Francisco, who managed to power a ball just over the wall in left center for a 3-0 advantage.

"I knew that I was probably going to be pinch-hitting against a lefty. He left one over the plate and I hit it out," said Francisco, who played sparingly in the final two months.

Rollins followed with a double over the head of Jon Jay in center and stole third, but Chase Utley grounded to second to end the inning.

"Well, it didn't work, so that's bad managing," admitted Cardinals manager Tony La Russa of his decision to keep Garcia in for the seventh. "I'm watching him pitch, and was really pleased, and I believe they had trouble centering the ball on him. Francisco has had not had a lot of success against him. But it didn't work."

In the home half, Vance Worley walked Craig with one out and Pujols blooped a single to right, but Lance Berkman grounded into a fielder's choice at second to leave runners on the corners. Freese lined an RBI single to center, before Molina's fly to right kept it 3-1.

The Phillies went quietly in the eighth facing Fernando Salas and Ryan Theriot began the home half with a bloop hit to right. Antonio Bastardo subbed for Worley and retired pinch-hitter Nick Punto on a fly to center, then Brad Lidge came on to give up singles to pinch-hitter Matt Holliday and Rafael Furcal which loaded the bases.

Madson was summoned, and needed only two pitches to work out of trouble. Utley fielded Craig's grounder, raced to second and threw to first in plenty of time for the final out.

Placido Polanco singled with one out in the ninth, then Ruiz hit a sinking liner to center which defensive-replacement Skip Schumaker dove for. The initial ruling was a hit, but a brief conversation between umpires reversed the call. Replays also clearly indicated the ball did not hit the ground before settling into the St. Louis outfielder's glove. Madson ended the inning by going down swinging.

Pujols started the home portion with his third double of the contest, but Berkman flied to center. Freese grounded weakly to second and Pujols moved to third, scoring when Molina dumped a hit to center to make it 3-2.

Theriot, who also collected four hits on Tuesday, grounded to second to end the contest.

"I mean, that's probably the easiest mindset that we have for tomorrow," said La Russa if his team will play as if their backs are against the wall. "I can just speak for myself and the coaches and the people around our club. I can't speak for our peers, the media, our fans. But the heart and guts that this club has demonstrated rallying like they did is just off the charts, and there's no doubt in my mind that you will see it again tomorrow."

In the bottom of the first, Hamels allowed a two-out double to Pujols and hit Berkman, and despite both men reaching scoring position thanks to a double steal, Freese fanned swinging to end the threat.

Molina narrowly missed hitting a long solo homer to left to lead off the second and the Cards went quietly in the frame.

Utley's grounder to first stranded a pair of runners in the third, and St. Louis failed to push a run across with two on in the fourth.

The Cards again put two on with two outs in the sixth, but Hamels ended his outing by striking out Garcia.

Game Notes

Francisco connected for his first homer since May 25 against Cincinnati...Hamels improved to 7-4 with a 3.09 earned run average in his playoff career...Rollins upped his 2011 postseason totals to 7-for-11 with three doubles and five runs scored...Polanco's hit snapped an 0-for-11 start to this series, and ended an 0-for-28 run dating back to his 2006 World Series appearance with Detroit against the Cards...Pujols and Theriot's four-hit performances marked the 11th and 12th times in Cardinals postseason history that a player recorded four hits in one game. It was the first time since David Eckstein's four-hit outing in Game 4 of the 2006 Fall Classic against Detroit...Molina extended his postseason hitting streak to 12 games...La Russa, who turned 67 on Tuesday, was fined an undisclosed amount for criticizing the strike zone of home plate umpire Jerry Meals in Sunday's Game 2.