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.

Jenrry Mejia: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

New York Mets' Jenrry Mejia reacts after getting the last out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in Milwaukee. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.

Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

Bryce Harper on potential $400 million contract: “Don’t sell me short.”

Bryce Harper
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.

When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.

During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.

Frankie Montas out 2-4 months after rib resection surgery

Chicago White Sox pitcher Frankie Montas throws against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Per Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue LA, the Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Frankie Montas will be out two to four months after undergoing rib resection surgery to remove his right first rib.

The Dodgers acquired Montas from the White Sox in a three-team trade in December 2015 that also involved the Reds. The 22-year-old made his big league debut with the Pale Hose last season, allowing eight runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 20 strikeouts in 15 innings across two starts. Montas had spent the majority of his season at Double-A Birmingham, where he posted a 2.97 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 48 walks in 112 innings.

MLB.com rated Montas as the 95th-best prospect in baseball, slipping a few spots from last year’s pre-season ranking of 91.

Athletics acquire Khris Davis in trade with Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers' Khris Davis swings on a home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash
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The Brewers’ rebuild continues, as the club announced on Twitter the trade of outfielder Khris Davis to the Athletics in exchange for catcher Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Bubba Derby. MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the A’s have designated pitcher Sean Nolin for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Davis.

Davis, 28, was the Brewers’ most valuable remaining trade chip. He blasted 27 home runs while hitting .247/.323/.505 in 440 plate appearances this past season in Milwaukee. Adding to his value, Davis won’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season and can’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season. In Oakland, Davis will give the Athletics more reliability as Coco Crisp was injured for most of last season and is now 36 years old. Though he doesn’t have much of a career platoon split, Davis split time in left field with the left-handed-hitting Gerardo Parra last season. It’s unclear if the A’s will utilize him in a platoon as well.

With Davis out of the picture, Domingo Santana is a leading candidate to start in left field for the Brewers, GM David Stearns said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Nottingham, 20, started the 2015 season in the Astros’ system but went to the Athletics in the Scott Kazmir deal. He hit an aggregate .316/.372/.505 at Single-A, showing plenty of promise early in his professional career. With catcher Jonathan Lucroy on his way out of Milwaukee, the Brewers are hoping Nottingham can be their next permanent backstop.

Derby, 21, made his professional debut last season after the Athletics drafted him in the sixth round. Across 37 1/3 innings, he yielded seven runs (five earned) on 24 hits and 10 walks with 47 strikeouts. He’s obviously a few years away from the majors, but the Brewers are looking for high upside.