Five months before the presents of December, Phillies fans are still hoping that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. can deliver the shiny new Halladay gift on everybody's list. In the meantime, the guys on the current roster showered another Citizens Bank Park sellout crowd with a slew of runs as they buried the visiting Cardinals 14-6.
The last part of the game was as satisfying as the first few innings were frustrating. The Phils jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis right fielder Ryan Ludwick made the first of a series of excellent defensive plays by the visitors to rob Carlos Ruiz of a likely double that would have plated two more. Ludwick then homered to lead off the second, and the Cardinals added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings against Rodrigo Lopez to go ahead 4-3. The fourth run came on a solo home run by Rick Ankiel, who earlier had made two great catches to save three more likely runs--including an over-the-wall grab on a Jayson Werth blast to dead center field.
But it all came apart for Tony LaRussa's club in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Werth walked and Pedro Feliz singled. After Ruiz flew out to deep right, Charlie Manuel sent Greg Dobbs up to pinch-hit for Lopez against Cards reliever Jason Motte. Dobbs fell behind 1-2 against Motte's high-90s heat, but hung in to draw the walk and load the bases. Jimmy Rollins followed with his second career grand slam inside the right field foul pole, and was barely out for his curtain call before Shane Victorino made it back to back homers. After the Cardinals got one run back in the top of the seventh, the Phils salted it away with six more, highlighted by a Rollins RBI double, a Victorino single that scored two, and a Ryan Howard two-run double.
Joe Blanton takes the mound for the rubber game Sunday at 1:35, opposed by Cardinals righty Todd Wellemeyer.