The Philadelphia Phillies drive to the 2011 World Series was derailed Friday night by the St. Louis Cardinals and RHSP Chris Carpenter October 7, 2011 as the visitors rode an incredible performance by the veteran to a 1-0 series clinching win. A stunned sell out crowd at Citizens Bank Park in downtown Philadelphia saw their 102 win team held to 3 hits by Carpenter while their own ace, Roy Halladay was done in by the first two batters of the game. After a leadoff triple to center by SS Rafael Furcal to lead off the game, sparkplug OF-INF Skip Schumaker doubled down the right field line for the game’s lone run. CF Shane Victorino had two of the Phillies 3 hits(one double) as the Carpenter threw a masterful 110 pitch complete game to end Philadelphia’s World Championship dreams.
This was an incredible game and pitching duel between two former teammates(Toronto Blue Jays from 1998 -2002) and very good friends in Carpenter and Halladay, tough to see either pitcher lose. Very similiar to the classic duel 1991 World Series game 7 matchup that featured Minnesota Twins SP Jack Morris vs. Atlanta Braves John Smoltz, ironic that Smoltz’ was part of the MLB announcing team calling this game. Halladay was outstanding after the 1st inning hiccup and threw 8 strong innings(6 hits,7 Ks, 1 intentional walk) to keep the Phillies in the game. The Phillies ace was never more dominant than in the top of the 8th. With the season in the balance, he struck out RF Lance Berkman and retired LF Matt Holliday on a fly ball to left with the bases loaded.
As great as the Phillies pitching has been all season, this was not a strong offensive team and people who follow this club day to day know it. Carpenter completely shut the door and Philadelphia hit two balls really well all night, a 4th inning drive by LF Raul Ibanez(I thought the ball was gone when he hit it) and 2B Chase Utley’s 9th inning warning track shot to center. The 13 year pro and Exeter,NH native threw 70 strikes among his 110 pitches and appeared to be in complete control from the 1st inning on. With the victory, the Cardinals move on the face the Milwaukee Brewers who defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10 inning of game 5 in the National League Championship series starting Sunday October 9th.
NOTES: Season ending blog within the next week, tough pill to swallow a sudden loss like this. I went thru a very similiar scenario at Shea Stadium in New York vs this same Cardinals team in 2006,sitting in my seats for 45 minutes post game. 6 months of work, gone in 3 hours. Just a tough thing.
RYAN HOWARD UPDATE: The loss is bad enough but it appears that Phillies slugging 1B Ryan Howard suffered a serious injury to his left leg attempting to run out the last out of the defeat. Nothing official yet but some media outlets are reporting he tore his left achilles tendon. This type of injury requires tons of rehab and Howard battled bursitis in the tendon late in the season, receiving a cortisone shot prior to the playoffs. The Phillies 1B struggled throughout the series average wise(.105) but hit a home run and had 6 rbi in 5 games after hitting .253 with 33 homers and 115 rbi with 75 walks in 152 games.
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