It's hard to believe that Kyle McClellan out-dueled Cy Young Award winner Roy Hallady for seven innings if you just saw the final score crawl across the bottom of your television screen.
But when Mac turned the game over to the bullpen the Cardinals were leading 2-1 and there was hope that the Birds would demonstrate an alternative way to win games with Albert Pujols sitting on the bench for a six-week stretch with a broken wrist.
Instead, the bullpen turned the game into an embarassment with a nine-run eighth inning that turned the potential victory into a loss and ushered the Redbirds back into second place.
Trever Miller started the eight by getting the first man he faced out on a fly ball to centerfield. But then it unraveled. Shane Victorino singled and then Chase Utley walked. With the lefty Ryan Howard coming to the plate, it was an odd move and a disturbing display in the lack of faith in Miller that the southpaw was lifted in favor of righty Jason Motte.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Motte hit Howard with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Then he hit Placido Polanco with another to drive home the tying run.
Enter Brian Tallet who gave Cardinals fans some encouragment when he struck out Raul Ibanez to give the Phillies their second out. But Ben Francisco got a hit to give Philadelphia the lead and start the merry go round.
Miguel Batista came into the game and walked two hitters in a row with the bases loaded. Then he gave up a hit with two strikes before giving way to Maikel Cleto who promptly walked the first man he face before giving up a pair of hits. When he got the last out, the sarcastic cheers rained down.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Skip Schumaker's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh gave the Cardinals the lead and put McClellan in position to beat Roy Halladay in what was a fun to watch pitchers' duel up to that point.
Cardinals Star of the Game: McClellan pitched seven innings and allowed five hits and a run to the high powered Phillies batsmen.
Lowlight: The Cardinals might be better off to release all of their middle relievers and relying on fans called down from the stands to pitch the seventh and eighth innings.