Ryan Howard

NLDS Phillies-Cardinals Game 3 Live Blog

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8:21: Theriot bounces out to second base to end it. The Phillies win the ballgame 3-2 and take a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals in the NLDS.

The Phillies will attempt to advance to the NLCS tomorrow night when Roy Oswalt goes up against Edwin Jackson.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and stay tuned for a recap.

8:18: Molina delivers with an RBI single to bring the score to 3-2. Ryan Theriot, who is 4-4 on the day, will come to the plate. Kyle Lohse is running for Molina here.

8:17: David Freese grounds out to second base for the second out. Pujols moves over to third. Last licks for the Cards with Yadier Molina coming to the plate.

8:13: Berkman flies out to center field. One away for David Freese, who had an RBI single in his last at-bat.

8:11: Pujols leads off with a double. He’s 4-for-5 with three doubles tonight. Lance Berkman will come up as the tying run. Edge-of-your-seat stuff here.

8:09: Madson strikes out to end the inning. It’s 3-1 Phillies as we move to the bottom of the ninth.

Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and David Freese are due to bat against Madson.

8:06: They got it right. After the umpires huddled together, it was ruled as a catch. Nicely done.

8:04: Human element alert! Skip Schumaker, who came on to play center field for Jon Jay, just caught that fly ball by Carlos Ruiz, but it was ruled as a trap by Jerry Meals.

7:58: Oh boy, did the Phillies just get out of a pickle. Madson induces the double play ground ball on Craig to end the inning. Huge. It’s 3-1 Phillies as we move to the top of the ninth.

7:54: High drama in St. Louis.

Rafael Furcal dumps a single into to left after one heck of an at-bat against Brad Lidge. Allen Craig will come to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, but he’ll face closer Ryan Madson. By the way, Madson hasn’t had more than a three-out save all season.

7:49: Holliday reaches with a pinch-hit single to right field. Runners on first and second for leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal. Adron Chambers pinch runs for Holliday.

7:48: Fans chanting “Albert Pujols” at Brad Lidge as he enters the ballgame.

7:46: Punto skies it to center field for the first out. As expected, Charlie Manuel will bring in Brad Lidge to face Matt Holliday.

7:43: Tony La Russa counters, as Nick Punto comes up to hit for Jon Jay.

7:41: Theriot leads off with a single. He’s 4-for-4 on the day. Here comes Charlie Manuel with the hook. Antonio Bastardo is coming in to face Jon Jay. By the way, Matt Holliday is on deck in the pitcher’s spot. We’ll likely see Brad Lidge after the at-bat with Jay.

7:37: Salas sits the Phillies down in order in the top of the eighth. Interestingly, Vance Worley is headed back out there for another inning, though Brad Lidge and Antonio Bastardo are staying warm in the bullpen.

7:34: Fernando Salas on for the Cardinals in the eighth, as Jaime Garcia is done for the day. He allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out three and walking two.

7:30: Worley gets Yadier Molina to fly out to right field to end the threat. It’s 3-1 Phillies as we move to the top of the eighth inning in St. Louis.

7:28: The Cardinals are on the board. Freese delivers with an RBI single to cut the Phillies’ lead to 3-1. First and second with two outs for Yadier Molina.

7:27: Berkman hits a ground ball to Utley, who cuts down Pujols at second base. Smart play. First and third with two outs for David Freese, who has had a rough day at the plate.

7:25: Pujols dumps a single into shallow right field. The Cardinals will bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Lance Berkman.

7:24: Vance Worley issues a one-out walk to Allen Craig. Here comes Albert Pujols, who has two doubles on the day.

7:18: Jimmy Rollins stole third base after reaching on a double over the head of Jon Jay, but Garcia was able to get Chase Utley to ground out to end the inning. Still, the damage is done. It’s 3-0 Phillies as we move to the bottom of the seventh in St. Louis.

7:14: Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ben Francisco delivers with a pinch-hit three-run blast. And Busch Stadium is rendered silent.

7:12: Now the Cardinals are walking Ruiz with first base open to pitch to Ben Francisco, who is pinch hitting for Cole Hamels. Don’t like this for the Cardinals.

7:09: Berkman catches the low liner from Mayberry and Victorino is nearly doubled off at second base. Phew, that was close.

7:08: Molina makes a rare mistake by losing a ball in the dirt, so Victorino advances to second base.

7:06: Leadoff single for Shane Victorino to begin the top of the seventh.

7:02: The walk works for the Phillies, as Garcia strikes out swinging to end the sixth. Hamels now has eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings, but with 117 pitches under his belt, he’s almost certainly done for the day.

6:58: Jon Jay draws a walk. Don’t want to count Jaime Garcia out here, but at least the Cardinals could have their leadoff hitter up in the seventh.

Vance Worley is warming up for the Phillies as Hamels is now at 112 pitches.

6:57: Two-out single by Ryan Theriot. He has three of the Cardinals’ five hits this afternoon.

6:53: We have a streaker in St. Louis! Don’t get too excited. It’s just a squirrel. Best part was the fan trying to grab it. It’s not a foul ball, dude.

6:46: Howard makes contact this time, but grounds out harmlessly to first base to end the inning. Garcia has six scoreless innings under his belt, but isn’t getting any help from his offense.

6:44: Interesting. Garcia walking Pence with first base open to pitch to Ryan Howard with two outs. Howard has struck out in his first two at-bats today.

6:42: Dick Stockton pronounces Jaime Garcia like “Jamey.” Cringe.

6:40: “Looks like Dave could use a little floss.” – Bob Brenly on Cardinals’ pitching Dave Duncan.

6:37: Hamels gave that one a ride to the opposite field, but Allen Craig was able to catch up to it for the first out of the inning. Nice running grab.

6:35: Hamels escapes by getting Berkman on a groundout. Another opportunity missed for the Cardinals, as we’re scoreless through five innings. Hamels is at 86 pitches, by the way.

6:32: Pujols sends another one to the right-center field gap. His second two-out double of the ballgame.

6:27: Do I really need to say it? Another 1-2-3 inning for Jaime Garcia. The southpaw has allowed just two hits over five scoreless frames, throwing 39 out of 51 pitches for strikes. Still no score.

6:23: The birthday boy Tony La Russa is in a much better mood tonight than he was Sunday. After the fine this week, he says his jaws are “wired shut.” Garcia has thrown 31 out of 39 pitches for strikes to begin the fifth, so little to complain about, really.

6:19: The Phillies give the intentional pass to Jon Jay in order to pitch to Jaime Garcia, who hits a broken-bat ground ball to end the inning. We’re scoreless through four innings in St. Louis.

6:16: Theriot power! He reaches on a chopper down the third base line that traveled about 45 feet.

6:14: Is Rich Dubee wearing a calculator watch? It would be sweet if he was. Those things were awesome in the 80s.

6:10: Here’s a very fun read on why Tony La Russa decided to play Lance Berkman in right field today. Hat-tip to Bill of the Platoon Advantage.

6:08: Garcia cruises through another 1-2-3 inning. He has thrown 31 out of 39 pitches for strikes over four scoreless innings.

6:02: Hamels dances around a walk to Allen Craig to make it out of the third. Sorry, had to do it.

6:00: I’m convinced that mentioning these tidbits like “Player X is 3-for-9 lifetime against Player Y” is just a way for broadcasters to kill time.

5:57: “Only one win in his last eight starts” – Dick Stockton about Cole Hamels. Is this supposed to mean something?

5:51: Utley grounds out to Albert Pujols to end the threat. We’re scoreless going into the bottom of the third. Despite the two hits, Garcia only threw 11 pitches in that inning.

5:49: Not sure Jon Jay ever saw that liner from Jimmy Rollins, but he probably didn’t have a realistic shot at it, anyway. Here’s Utley with runners on first and second and two away.

5:47: I blinked the Phillies already have one out. Do they have dinner reservations or something?

5:46: All-time career OPS reference on the TBS broadcast. Silly “Moneyball” stats.

5:43: Hamels makes it through the second inning unscathed, but has already thrown 39 pitches.

5:41: Jon Jay strikes out looking with a pitch off the outside corner. Has La Russa complained about the strike zone yet?

5:37: Ryan Theriot with a one-out single. And he dove head-first into first base, just for the heck of it. Ok, not really.

5:34: And…Yadier Molina narrowly misses a home run down the left field line.

5:30: And he gets Mayberry swinging, as well. Garcia has thrown 19 pitches over two scoreless innings so far this afternoon.

5:25: Howard goes down swinging to begin the top of the second inning.

5:20: The Cards catch the Phillies off guard with a double-steal. Interesting considering Pujols’ recent heel injury. Turns out it doesn’t matter much as Freese strikes out to end the inning.

5:19: Berkman hit on the foot by the pitch. Runners on first and second now for David Freese.

5:18: Albert Pujols sends one to the right-center field gap for a two-out double. Here comes Berkman.

5:14: These shadows are intense, but I’m not sure anything could be worse than Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Yovani Gallardo was excellent, but the sun definitely helped him against those Diamondbacks hitters.

5:12: Rangers-Rays update: Desmond Jennings grounds out to second base to end it. Rangers win 4-3 and are headed to the ALCS. Ok, no more flipping back and forth.

5:10: Hunter Pence lines out to Rafael Furcal to end a 1-2-3 first inning for Jaime Garcia. Up come the Cardinals.

5:08: After taking a first-pitch strike to begin the ballgame, Jimmy Rollins is retired on a foul pop-up to Albert Pujols.

5:07: Craig Sager is neon. That is all.

5:04: I know this is a Phillies-Cardinals thread, but I’m still keeping an eye on Rangers-Rays. The Rays are down to their final two outs against Neftali Feliz.

5:02: Awkward intro there on the telecast. Must be distracted by all those white rally towels. Have I ever told you how much I hate rally towels?

5:00 p.m. ET: After splitting the first two games in Philadelphia, the Phillies and Cardinals will play Game 3 of the NLDS this afternoon/evening in St. Louis.

Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA) is on the mound for the Cardinals while Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79 ERA) starts for the Phillies.

I’ll be dropping some of my random thoughts and observations here throughout the ballgame. Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Looking for lineups? We have you covered right here.

Video: Adrian Beltre belts a walk-off home run on Monday against the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  The Texas Rangers celebrate the two-run walk off homerun by Adrian Beltre #29 against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The Rangers found themselves in a 5-1 hole after three innings against the Athletics on Monday, but scratched out some runs in the middle innings. That allowed them to enter the bottom of the ninth inning trailing by only one run, 6-5, facing A’s closer Ryan Madson.

Adrian Beltre, who hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, stepped to the plate with a runner on first base and two outs. He was the Rangers’ last hope to keep the game alive. The veteran third baseman swung at Madson’s first pitch, a 96 MPH fastball, and drilled it to left-center field for a walk-off two-run home run.

Beltre now has nine walk-off home runs in his career. While the 37-year-old isn’t quite the offensive dynamo he was even two years ago, his numbers are still respectable. He’ll head into Tuesday’s action batting .281/.334/.468 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI in 392 plate appearances.

Jay Bruce: “This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 25:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds swings and watches the flight of his ball as he hits a two-run homer against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the fourth inning at AT&T Park on July 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Outfielder Jay Bruce was the catalyst in the Reds’ 7-5 victory over the Giants on Monday night, drilling a pair of two-run home runs. It’s good timing for the Reds, as the trade deadline is six days away. The Reds might prefer to get a prospect or two for Bruce rather than pick up his $13 million club option for 2017 or buy him out for $1 million and let him walk into free agency.

It was only a year ago that it seemed like the Reds would have to settle for next-to-nothing to get rid of Bruce. He posted career-lows across the board in 2014, including a .654 OPS and 18 home runs. He improved last season, returning to 26 home runs, but came with an uninspiring .729 OPS.

This year is another story. Bruce is currently hitting .272/.326/.564 with 23 home runs and a league-best 77 RBI. He’s on pace to set career-bests in a lot of categories if he’s able to stay healthy.

Bruce was honest about his resurgence, though, admitting that he doesn’t know why he’s so much better this year as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving. You’re never settled. You’ve never got it. You’ve never figured it out. It’s like a puzzle that never has all the pieces to it. You might get close and feel pretty good about your progress, but you never are going to have the puzzle put together.

Bruce, who welcomed a child into the world back in April, also discussed the difficulties of hearing his name bandied about in trade rumors once again.

It’s harder this year. I have a family I have to focus on now. Logistically, it’s much more intricate. I know the skit. I know how it goes. But it will be nice when it’s passed because we’ll have a plan of attack on whether my family is staying where they are in Cincinnati or elsewhere.

This is a point of view that is not often covered. This time of the year can be very difficult for players who may be traded, as they await a phone call that could send their lives into upheaval. It may mean being away from their families for three months. It means living out of a hotel room or finding a place to live on very short notice. Even Bruce’s comments about his success this year are illuminating about the mental strain of the game.

As usual, great reporting by Buchanan. His full article is worth your time.