With one swing, Ryan Howard changed the game.
Kyle Lohse seemingly had the Phillies bats under control. That was, until the 6th inning when Lohse fell back to earth and lost all control of his first playoff appearance since giving up a grand slam in the 2007 NLDS as a Phillie against Colorado.
That all fell back on Lohse’ lap as the Phils took Game 1 of the NLDS with an 11-6 win.
Lohse was perfect through the first 10 batters he faced. It wasn’t until Chase Utley’s one-out double in the 4th that the Phillies figured out how to get to Lohse. Two batters later, they milked a run out of Lohse and cutting the Cardinals lead to 3-1.
Two innings later, and it was a whole different ball game. With one out and two men on, Howard gave the Phillies offense the jolt it needed. The crowd, sensing something big was about to happen, stood on its feet and waved the white rally towels handed out.
One pitch after another, Howard fouled off pitches he didn’t like. The 8th pitch, a change-up left belt high, was the pitch Howard liked.
It was as if the ball was traveling through the air in slow motion. 46,000 people stood and watched as Howard’s blast landed in the first row of the second deck, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Two batters later, Raul Ibanez finished off Lohse with a two-run homer and giving the Phillies the biggest spark in the form of a 6-3 lead.
The two blasts erased a 1st inning that Roy Halladay soon put behind him. Lance Berkman thought he took the wind out of the crowd’s sails with his three-run homer but the fans quickly got behind Halladay before the inning ended. That was all Doc needed.
In fact, Skip Schumaker’s lead-off single in the 2nd was the last baserunner the Cardinals would get off of Halladay, who retired the last 21 batters he faced. His night concluded after eight innings, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out eight.
Minus one bad pitch, Halladay’s outing resembled his post season debut last season when he held the Reds to only one walk.
Chase Utley had three hits, two of them doubles, as well as scoring three times. Jimmy Rollins was on base three times and scored each time he reached. Howard and Ibanez each homered, driving in a combined seven runs.
2B: Utley 2. HR: Howard, Ibanez.
WP: Halladay (1-0). LP: Lohse (0-1).