Cards rally against Lee, even NLDS at a game each

By Rob Maaddi

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Oct. 3 2011 2:36 a.m. MDT

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) stands in the rain during the seventh inning of Game 2 in baseball's National League division series against the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Matt Slocum, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Jon Jay flipped the catcher. Ryan Theriot withstood a hard takeout slide. Albert Pujols gutted it out on an injured heel.

These feisty St. Louis Cardinals aren't backing down from the mighty Philadelphia Phillies.

Pujols hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning after Cliff Lee blew a four-run lead, and the Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win Sunday night to even their NL playoff matchup at one game each.

Down early, Jay jolted Carlos Ruiz on a bruising play at the plate. Jay was out, ending the fourth inning. The Phillies, however, couldn't block the Cardinals' path to victory.

"It's the playoffs, we're not going to quit," Jay said. "We played hard, we fought hard and we came back and were able to win."

The NLDS shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Tuesday. Cole Hamels will be the third straight All-Star pitcher to face the Cardinals, who'll send Jaime Garcia to the mound.

The wild-card Cardinals, who got into the postseason only after the Phillies beat Atlanta in Game 162, got the split they were looking for on the road against the team that had the best record in the majors.

Lee hardly looked like the guy who used to be so dominant in the postseason. He gave up five runs and 12 hits, striking out nine in six-plus innings, to lose his third straight playoff start.

"I wasn't able to make my pitches, so I take full responsibility," Lee said.

Pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his career, Chris Carpenter struggled for the Cardinals — but one reliever after another did the job for manager Tony La Russa.

Six Cardinals relievers combined to toss six shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Jason Motte finished for a four-out save.

"We've been doing this all year. We don't give up," Motte said. "People counted us out, (but) we kind of went out there and just kept playing hard."

After chipping away for a few innings, the Cardinals took the lead in the seventh. Allen Craig led off with a triple off center fielder Shane Victorino's glove. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Victorino misplayed the ball. He had to go a long way to make the catch, but overran it and the ball bounced off his glove.

Pujols, who struck out in his previous two at-bats, lined a single over drawn-in shortstop Jimmy Rollins to give St. Louis a 5-4 lead.

Cardinals players jumped up and cheered wildly in the dugout, while Phillies fans sat silently in disbelief. The red-clad faithful had their hearts broken already once Sunday.

Just a few hours earlier, the Eagles blew a 20-point lead and lost 24-23 to the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL game across the street.

Many fans walked over to watch the two-sport doubleheader, and the crowd of 46,575 was the largest in the eight-year history of Citizens Bank Park.

For a while, it seemed the Phillies had this one under control.

After all, Lee is one of the best postseason pitchers in history, and he was 17-9 with a 2.40 ERA and a major league-best six shutouts this season.

Lee was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his first eight playoff starts — 4-0 with the Phillies in 2009 — before losing Games 1 and 5 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants as a member of the Texas Rangers last year.

He's 0-3 with a 7.13 ERA in the last three outings.

On a chilly night when game-time temperature was 50 degrees, Lee was the only starter in short sleeves.

Maybe he got cold.

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