Not knowing all too much about St. Louis, and with very little going on in the early parts of this game, I found myself noodling around the Internet for expressions particular to St. Louis. Among my early findings were that they pronounce the word "forty" as "farty," which sent me into a giggly paroxysm that lasted until about the fourth inning.
Fortunately for everyone in my house, that was about the time when it looked like David Buchanan might actually be onto something in tonight's Phillies-Cardinals game, and so I quickly found a second site in which I imagined myself to be among Baseball's Best Fans, and, eureka, I had the hook I was looking for:
Why you all the way over here?
Now, this may not, in fact, be germane to St. Louis, but I like it just the same, as it connotes the righteous indignation of some relatively talent-challenged other coming into your neighborhood and asking a lot of questions of you that, well, make you feel pretty uncomfortable, as if the boxers you were wearing to sweat out a hot June night on the steps of the Mississippi had fetid, worn peepholes into your junkyard.
And that is exactly how David Buchanan pitched tonight for 7 and 2/3 innings, completely flummoxing the Cardinals for just one run on four hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Buchanan threw 67 of his 105 pitches for strikes, and had seven one-pitch outs.
As they had in Atlanta, the Phillies took an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Carlos Ruiz, mercifully batting second, led off with a double. Utley singled, moving Ruiz to third. Ryan Howard singled, scoring Ruiz, while Utley did that first to third thing that the women fans seem to chat a lot about. Dom Brown then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Utley, but as it was on the first pitch, Utley wasn't on third nearly long enough. Nevertheless: 2-0 Phillies.
It wasn't all good for the Phillies tonight, however, as Reid Brignac sprained his ankle in the fifth on one of those plays that bring back memories of little league when you and your buddies would huddle on the bench and mutter, "To hell with what Coach says. What the hell does he know? He's a pencil-neck geek who stares at computer screens all day! Next time the play's even remotely close at first, I'm slidin'!" And some dumbass would think you all were serious and wind up in the E.R. with an ankle injury and you'd all have to pretend to look sad and serious while Coach gave you the I-Told-You-So-And-You-Guys-Should-Watch-More-of-the-Big Leaguers-on-TV-Harangue while that dork Timmy made faces behind him until you heard the plaintive, dulcet tones of the Ice Cream Truck.
Because ice cream, I'll hold that with two hands. Only losers use two hands on a ball designed for one hand. Jeezus, coach. Shut. Up. For. Once.
And it bears mentioning, too, now that the Phillies are in St. Louis, that Ryan "Tootsie Wootsie" Howard tears his hometown team to shreds in some kind of psychic pay-it-forward for fans who remember Mike Piazza's ritualized savagings of the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. It is fun to hold him out like some voodoo talisman under the Arch every time the Phillies step off their chartered river steamboat. Tonight in the sixth, after Utley singled, Howard hit a fly ball off Cardinals starter Shelby Miller toward the left field pole that just bounced over the cutout for the bare minimalist of home runs. Nevertheless: Phillies 4, Cardinals 0.
Buchanan ultimately coughed up the shutout in the seventh, when Matt Carpenter singled in a previously walked Jhonny Peralta to cut the lead to 4-1. But the newly effective Phillies bullpen duo of Jake Diekman and Jonathan Papelbon shut the Cardinals down for the final four outs of the game.
With the win, the Philies improved their record to just five games shy of .500 (33-38), and just 4 games back in the NL East. 3.5 out of 2nd. Buchanan's strong game led to the Phillies' first four-game win streak all year, and first four-game road win streak since August 18- September 1, 2012). Fangraph of Winning (better than LOSING, maaan).
Oh, and did you know that Buchanan wears number 55? Obligatory celebratory dirge-song video embed: