PHILADELPHIA – John Jay knocked Carlos Ruiz backward with a hard forearm shiver, then the St. Louis Cardinals flipped this series around.
Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning after Cliff Lee blew a four-run lead, and the Cardinals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Sunday night to even their N.L. playoff matchup at one game each.
Down early, Jay jolted Philadelphia’s catcher on a bruising play at the plate. Jay was out, ending the fourth inning.
The Phillies, however, couldn’t block the Cardinals’ path to victory.
The NLDS shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Tuesday. Cole Hamels will be the third straight All-Star pitcher to face the Cardinals, who’ll send Jaime Garcia to the mound.
The wild-card Cardinals, who got into the postseason only after the Phillies beat Atlanta in Game 162, got the split they were looking for on the road against the team that had the best record in the majors.
Lee hardly looked like the guy who used to be so dominant in the postseason. He gave up five runs and 12 hits, striking out nine in six-plus innings, to lose his third straight playoff start.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, Chris Carpenter struggled for the Cardinals.
But one reliever after another did the job for manager Tony La Russa.
Six Cardinals relievers combined to toss six shutout innings, allowing just one hit. Jason Motte finished for a four-out save.
After chipping away for a few innings, the Cardinals took the lead in the seventh. Allen Craig led off with a triple off center fielder Shane Victorino’s glove. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Victorino misplayed the ball. He had to go a long way to make the catch, but overran it and the ball bounced off his glove.
Pujols, who struck out in his previous two at-bats, lined a single over drawn-in shortstop Jimmy Rollins to give St. Louis a 5-4 lead.
Cardinals players jumped up and cheered wildly in the dugout, while Phillies fans sat silently in disbelief. The red-clad faithful had their hearts broken already once Sunday. Just a few hours earlier, the Eagles blew a 20-point lead and lost 24-23 to the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL game across the street.
Carpenter, the 2005 N.L. Cy Young Award winner, allowed four runs and five hits in three innings.