National League Playoffs: Cardinals, Brewers advance
PHILADELPHIA ó Chris Carpenter tossed a three-hitter to outpitch old pal Roy Halladay in a duel for the ages and the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 Friday night in the deciding Game 5 of their NL playoff series.
The wild-card Cardinals scored in the first inning when Rafael Furcal led off with a triple and Skip Schumaker followed with a double.
And that was it.
Heavily favored Philadelphia never broke through against Carpenter. Ryan Howard grounded out to end the game and hurt his leg coming out of the batterís box ó he limped a couple of steps and crumpled to the ground as St. Louis started to celebrate.
ěIt was some kind of fun, getting out there and was able to get that one run early off Doc, he was dominant the rest of the game,î Carpenter said.
ěHeís a great friend of mine, and like I said, he did a great job tonight also,î he said.
The Cardinals needed a monumental collapse by Atlanta in the final month and major help from the 102-win Phillies just to reach the playoffs. Now theyíre heading to Milwaukee for the NL championship series starting Sunday following a stunning upset in which they beat three of Philadelphiaís four aces: Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.
Three of baseballís four opening-round matchups went to a deciding Game 5, and all of them were pitching-rich thrillers. Detroit held off the New York Yankees 3-2 on Thursday night, and Milwaukee beat Arizona in 10 innings earlier Friday.
Then, the showdown between Carpenter and Halladay topped them all.
Trailing two games to one, the Cardinals began their comeback with a win in Game 4. That night in St. Louis, a squirrel scampered across home plate as Schumaker batted in the middle innings ó if the Cardinals keep winning, their fans will certainly go nuts, thanks to their ěRally Squirrel.î
Coincidentally, a squirrel was caught at Citizens Bank Park before Game 5. Not a good omen, apparently, for the Phillies.
ěI think guys weíre just relaxed and having fun,î Carpenter said. ěWe put ourselves into position where everybody was expecting us to have no chance and we just started playing like the team we knew we were. And we were fortunate to get some help back into it with Atlanta losing and we were playing well the rest of that month.î
Carpenter was over 100 pitches when he took the mound in the ninth. He retired Chase Utley on a fly to the warning track in center and got Hunter Pence on a grounder.
Howard was next, and Carpenter got the big slugger to end a most improbable series win.
Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 2
MILWAUKEE ó Nyjer Morgan denounced his ěhaters.î He suggested he might celebrate by taking a nice, relaxing bath. Then he erupted with a cackle.
All while wearing a helmet in his postgame news conference.
After delivering an RBI single in the 10th inning to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Friday in Game 5 and send the Milwaukee Brewers to the NL championship series, Morgan was taking it all in and letting his oversized, oddball personality out.
ěItís a lot, man,î Morgan said. ěBasically just everything that Iíve had to overcome, just the stuff that people go out there and perceive about me, everything. Just all my haters. I just wanted to show them that I can play this game, even though I have a fun, bubbly personality. I still come to win, and Iím a winner.î