Francisco comes through in a pinch


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Charlie Manuel disregarded the numbers. He knew Ben Francisco was the right man for the job. Ryan Madson, too.

Francisco came on with a pinch-hit, three-run home run to provide the only offense the Philadelphia Phillies needed in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in their NL division series.

Madson got the last five outs to save Cole Hamels' seventh postseason win.

So much for the fact none of Madson's 32 saves this season lasted more than an inning. So much for Francisco's postseason futility and his lack of success against Jaime Garcia before his game-changer.

"All that matters is we're here today and whatever you do today is going to pretty much define you," Francisco said. "Charlie put me up there and I got a big hit."

The Phillies, favored to win it all after a franchise-record 102 wins, can finish off the wild-card Cardinals in Game 4 on Wednesday, with Roy Oswalt opposing Edwin Jackson and 19-game winner Roy Halladay on deck.

"We have two Roys going for us if we need to get to that second one and you have to feel pretty good about your chances when that's the case," reliever Brad Lidge said. "But you can't take these guys lightly at all because they show why they're such a tough team."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's decisions in the crucial seventh inning were ripe for second-guessing. He let Garcia bat in the sixth with two men on and then let Garcia keep pitching, and both moves backfired.

Garcia struck out on Hamels' 117th pitch to end the sixth and keep it scoreless, and just a few minutes later served up a fat pitch that Francisco hammered over the left field wall and into the visitor's bullpen.

"Well, it didn't work, so that's bad managing," La Russa said. "I'm watching him pitch and was really pleased. I thought he was the guy to continue pitching and I knew the matchups were in our favor. It didn't work."

Even Garcia dissociated himself from the call to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz before Francisco's homer.

"That wasn't my idea," Garcia said. "That's what (La Russa) wanted to do and that's what we did."

Second baseman Chase Utley was perfectly positioned to turn a double play to end the eighth on Allen Craig's sharply hit grounder with the bases loaded. Madson allowed Yadier Molina's RBI single in the ninth before earning the save.

"That was a lot of fun, a lot of fun," Madson said. "I wish I was a lot better but I guess I was good enough and that's all that matters."

After stranding 14 runners to frustrate a season-best crowd of 46,914, the Cardinals are in an yet another win-or-else predicament. They won the NL wild card on the final day of the season, erasing a 10 1/2-game deficit on Aug. 25 to overtake the Braves.

"Somebody was going to be up 2-1 after this game anyway, so the series doesn't end just because they're up 2-1," Lance Berkman said. "We'll come back out tomorrow and see what happens."

Several Cardinals said it was no coincidence that neither team scored the first six innings. Shadows during games with late-afternoon start times have bedeviled the hitters and Berkman joked that when he learned Game 3 would begin at 4:07 p.m. CDT, "I threw a tantrum, stomped my feet and stuff like that. Didn't do any good."

Francisco's shot on a 1-0 fastball from Garcia was only his second hit in 19 postseason at-bats. He hit six homers this season, the last on May 25 against the Reds.

"I didn't know it was a homer, I knew I hit it good," Francisco said. "I saw it bounce over the fence and just pure excitement, pure joy."

Hamels struck out eight in six scoreless innings and reversed a disturbing trend after allowing nine homers in September, with a pair of doubles by Pujols the only extra-base hits. He's a franchise-best 7-4 in the postseason with a 3.09 ERA.

Pujols and Ryan Theriot had four hits apiece for St. Louis with Pujols getting his 22nd career multihit game in the postseason. The Cardinals came up empty despite three hits in the eighth, including a pinch-hit single by Matt Holliday in only his second appearance of the series.

Holliday, still bothered by an inflamed tendon in his right middle finger, wasn't sure whether he'd be ready to start in Game 4. He said he hadn't tried to throw.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 1

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks put one rookie on the mound and another in the No. 5 spot in the batting order in a game they had to win.

Both seemed oblivious to the pressure. Both came through brilliantly.

And the Diamondbacks lived to play another day.

Josh Collmenter, he of the unorthodox tomahawk-throwing pitching style, shut down Milwaukee's big hitters for the third time this season and Paul Goldschmidt hit the third grand slam by a rookie in postseason history in an 8-1 rout on Tuesday night that cut the Milwaukee Brewers' lead in the best-of-5 series to 2-1.

Neither player was on Arizona's opening day roster, Collmenter coming up from Triple-A Reno first as a reliever, then becoming a starter. Goldschmidt didn't arrive from Double-A Mobile until Aug. 1.

"They didn't break camp with us, but we tried to lay it out how we were going to approach this and expose them to as much as we could," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "And then when they both came up, we put them right in the fire."

The victory forced a Game 4 Wednesday night at Chase Field, where the raucous crowd of 48,312 was an obvious factor in Arizona's one-sided win, just as it was in Milwaukee when the Brewers won the first two games.

"It was awesome," Goldschmidt said. "Now to be back home and hear almost 50,000 people screaming for us is awesome."

If Arizona wins Game 4, the deciding Game 5 will be Friday in Milwaukee in a rematch of Game 1 starters Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks and Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers.

The Diamondbacks never led in the first two games of the series, but jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning of Game 3 on an RBI double by Miguel Montero and a run-scoring single by Goldschmidt, who tied a franchise postseason record with five RBIs.

"Those runs, coupled with the fact that I had already done well against Milwaukee and got out of a little jam in the first inning, I think threw all the momentum on our side," Collmenter said.

Done well is an understatement.

The home run Corey Hart hit leading off the third is the only run Collmenter has allowed in 21 innings against the Brewers. This time, he limited Milwaukee to two hits in seven innings, none after Hart's homer. He retired 15 of the last 16 he faced, with the lone exception a leadoff walk to Nyjer Morgan in the sixth.

"That's what the coaching staff is asking ourselves is why is this guy so tough," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.

Collmenter's fastball is average but he locates it well and has an exceptional changeup.

"It's something about the deception on that fastball," Roenicke said. "The change-up is very good. The change-up is down in the zone always. And he's got great motion on it. And then he spots his fastball well."

Roenicke opened his post-game news conference asking how many in the audience agreed with his move to walk Miguel Montero to load the bases in the fifth in front of Goldschmidt. Roenicke said he still thought it was the right move, even though it backfired so badly.

"I know the kid has got big hits," he said, referring to Goldschmidt. "Montero scares me. Montero is a really good hitter. There's not a whole lot of places you can go with him. Even when you make good pitches, he's got a chance to hit. That's not to say that Goldschmidt isn't a good hitter, too. What I think he's doing so well is he's not missing mistakes. When he gets a mistake, he kills it."

The two-out, opposite-field home run off Shaun Marcum blew open a 7-1 lead.

"Goldy is a big boy," Montero said. "He is strong enough to hit that ball out. As soon as I saw the ball was gone, I turned around and went 'Wow.'"

The only other rookie slams in postseason history were by the Yankees' Gil McDougald in Game 5 of the 1951 World Series and the Yankees' Ricky Ledee in Game 4 of the 1999 AL championship series.

"I had two strikes, so I was just trying to battle," Goldschmidt said. "I can't really sit on one pitch. He ended up throwing a fastball, and I'm sure he missed his spot because it ended up down the middle and I was able to get a good part of the bat on it. I knew I hit it well, but Hart was going after it hard. And luckily it was able to get out of here."

Collmenter never gave the Brewers a chance to get into their "Beast Mode."

Ryan Braun, 6 for 8 with a home run and two doubles as Milwaukee outscored Arizona 13-5 in the first two games, was 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. Prince Fielder had an infield single in the ninth after being hit by a pitch following Braun's walk in the first.

Collmenter fanned Rickie Weeks to end the first, one of his six strikeouts to go with two walks and a hit batter.

Marcum allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.

"The first two games we did our job and today we stunk it up a little bit," Weeks said, "but we should come out tomorrow ready."

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