2011 Moments: #5 Howard propels Game 1 win

Ryan Howard watches his three-run homer leave the park in Game 1 of the NLDS on October 1, 2011. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

It was Kyle Lohse among all people.

And it didn’t take until the 6th inning before someone on the Phillies realized this. That person was Ryan Howard and his three-run homer in the 6th inning seemingly set the tone for the NLDS at the moment.

Lohse had a perfect game going through the first 10 batters while holding a 3-0 lead created by a three-run homer off the bat of Lance Berkman. But Chase Utley’s double that ended the hitless streak and Shane Victorino’s RBI single in the 4th gave the Phillies offense some life while cutting the Cardinals lead to 3-1.

The 6th inning marked end of Lohse’s night. After a pair of singles by Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence, the Big Piece stepped into the box and gave the Phils the 4-3 lead in a huge way.

Howard worked a full count. On the 8th pitch a 78 MPH change-up that was left in Howard’s happy zone, the Phils took a 4-3 lead when Howard’s blast nearly landed in the second deck in right field.

The homer rattled Lohse, who immediately gave up a single to Victorino with the crowd still buzzing from Howard’s home run. After the noise settled a little, Lohse was still uneasy. He made the same mistake to Raul Ibanez, leaving a hittable 78 MPH smack-me change up over the plate and the Phils took a commanding 6-3 lead and eventual 11-6 win in Game 1.

The tone was set by Howard, who erased the only blunder of Roy Halladay’s incredible evening. After giving up the three-run shot to Berkman in the 1st and a lead-off single in the 2nd, Halladay retired 21 straight as he led the Phils to a Game 1 win over the Cardinals.

St. Louis went on to win the series in five games but Howard’s homer, along with Ben Francisco’s Game 3 heroics, provided the fans with a couple of post season memories in a very forgettable October.


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