Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 10/1/11
PHILADELPHIA The Cardinals proved Phillies starterRoy Halladay was human Saturday night. For about five minutes. Halladay allowed a hit, a walk and a three-run homer to Lance Berkman in thetop of the first inning, then righted the ship and retired 21 batters in a rowand 23 of 24 in helping the Phillies come back from an early hole to beat theSt. Louis Cardinals 11-6 in Game 1 of their National League Division Series. With the Citizens Bank Park crowd waving white rally towels as the game began,Rafael Furcal singled and Albert Pujols walked before Berkman hit the firstpitch he saw off a faade of the second deck in right to give the Cardinals anearly lead. "I couldn't think of a worse start, really, than putting your team in ahole like that," Halladay said. A stunned crowd of 46,480 sat silently in their seats as Berkman rounded thebases. Were the underdog Cardinals going to come into the house of the teamwith the best record in baseball and pull off a shocking upset? For five innings, it sure looked like it. Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse retired the first 10 Phillies he faced and allowedjust one unearned run in the first five innings before things fell apart in thesixth. With the Cardinals up 3-1, Lohse hung two changeups that both resultedin no-doubt home runs. The first was a 3-2 pitch to Ryan Howard that resulted in a towering three-runhomer to put the Phillies up 4-3. The Phillies' Raul Ibanez took advantage ofanother hanging changeup two batters later, putting the Philadelphia crowd intoa frenzy with a two-run shot that made it 6-3. After cruising through five innings almost unchallenged, the sixth inningcouldn't have been any different for Lohse. For Halladay, things were thecomplete opposite. Appearing to almost be toying with the Cardinals by getting their hopes up withan early lead, Halladay decided to get down to business following a leadoffsingle in the second inning from Skip Schumaker. The two-time Cy Young Award winner retired the next three batters to finish thesecond inning. He then retired the side in order in the third, fourth, fifth,sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The only person to stop Halladay was Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whodenied him a chance at the complete game by pulling him after 106 pitches andeight innings. "He only gave up three hits," first baseman Albert Pujols said."That's why he's the best in the game. Obviously I think we had goodquality at-bats but he made some good pitches when he needed to. We wanted tokeep adding on it but we just never put that inning together again." After allowing four earned runs in eight innings in a loss to Lohse and theCardinals in Philadelphia less than two weeks ago, Halladay's rough start hadsome wondering if the Cardinals had his number. That thought soon changed as the Cardinals didn't have a base runner from thesecond inning until the ninth inning, when they added three runs against thePhillies bullpen to make the 11-6 final look more respectable. "He's one of the best in the business," Furcal said. "We got tohim early with three runs but he's a command pitcher and he's the kind ofpitcher that in eight innings he throws less than 100 pitches. He knows how topitch. "Especially with the team they have, you have to score more runs thanthat. They have a pretty good team. Nobody is an easy out on that team andespecially with that guy pitching who controls the game like that." A fly ball from Furcal to left to end the eighth inning was the first ball hitinto the outfield by a Cardinals batter since the second inning. Halladayneeded 20 pitches to get out of the first inning. He needed 86 to finish thenext seven. Halladay retired the last 21 Cardinals he faced, improving to 3-1 with a 2.70ERA in 30 career playoff innings. "You're just not going to score much more than that off that guy, you'rejust not going to," said Berkman. "He has a sub-three ERA over thecourse of 35 starts in the regular season so if you can get three runs in lessthan nine innings against the guy, you've actually made him do worse than henormally does. "That's how good he is. That's why he's making 22 million a year andthat's why people consider him the best in the game." The Cardinals found that out the hard way Saturday night in Game 1. Ace ChrisCarpenter will start Sunday night on three days of rest, hoping to help themeven the series before it returns to St. Louis.
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