PHILADELPHIA - Well, it was nice while it lasted -- those wonderful three innings when Lance Berkman took Roy Halladay deep for a 3-run shot, and Kyle Lohse need just 23 pitches to sail through the first nine batters he faced.
Then the reality of the Phillies' being a 102-win team began setting in.
Halladay, after giving up two hits in the first and one in the second, retired the next 21 in a row, and the Phillies bats finally discovered the pace against Lohse.
It all added up to a 11-6 win over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS. Game 2 is Sunday with a 7:37 first pitch - that's 30 minutes later than originally scheduled.
The Phillies started playing like themselves in the sixth: Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence each singled up the middle around a Chase Utley strikeout. That brought up St. Louis-native Ryan Howard.
On a full count, Howard homered deep to right to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. After a Shane Victorino single, Raul Ibanez followed with another homer to right and the Phillies had a 6-3 lead.
That was the end of Lohse's outing -- 5.1 innings, 7 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 77 pitches -- and brought Octavio Dotel in from the bullpen. Dotel struck out the next two, but the damage had been done.
It got worse in the Phillies seventh, as Halladay, Rollins and Utley each singled to knock out Marc Rzepczynski, who had replaced Dotel. That brought out Mitchell Boggs from the bullpen to face Hunter Pence. Pence hit into a fielder's choice back to the mound for the first out, but then came Howard to the plate with the bases still loaded and only one out. He hit a hard liner to right for a sacrifice fly, but at least it was just one run instead of four. Victorino singled to right to bring in a run and it was 8-3. Another single by Ibanez and it was 9-3.
Boggs didn't fare much better in the eighth. He allowed three consecutive hits with two outs as the Phillies increased the lead to 11-3.
Halladay, although he hit for himself in the bottom of the eighth, he didn't come out fo the ninth, leaving it to Michael Stutes to get the final three outs. Stutes walked Craig to start the ninth, the first Cardinals baserunner since the second. Pujols followed with a single up the middle, also the Cardinals' first hit since the second.
Gerald Laird ran for Pujols, but there was no immediate word if the Cardinals' first baseman was hurt or not.
The Cards added a run on a pinch single By Adron Chambers. When Yadier Molina added a single to load the bases, the Phillies switched to closer Ryan Madson to hold on to the 7-run lead. Skip Schumaker greeted him with a double to left, and it was 11-6. After John Jay struck out, the Cards brought in Matt Holliday to pinch-hit. He struck out on three pitches.
The story of the game was supposed to be Halladay's pitching dominating the Cardinals, but Lohse had the early success.
The Cardinals' starter needed just 23 pitches to retire the first nine Phillies he faced.
Of course it was easier to pitch after getting staked to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, thanks to Berkman's homer, his second of the year off Halladay.
Halladay, who had a perfect game in last year's NLDS against Cincinnat, wasn't perfect for long on this night as Rafael Furcal ended that notion on the second pitch of the game.
A few minutes later - after an Allen Craig strikeout and a four-pitch walk to Pujols, Berkman ended the idea of a shutout with a 3-run homer to right field on the first pitch he saw from Halladay. Berkman had also homered in the first inning off Halladay the last time these teams met. He is the only lefthander to homer off Halladay in Philadelphia this year.
Lohse did his part in the bottom of the first, retiring the Phillies in order on three ground balls on just six pitches.
The Cardinals threatened again in the top of the second as Skip Schumaker led off with a single to right and advanced to second on grounder to first by Jon Jay as Howard made a diving stab. However, after Lohse struck out swinging, Furcal grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Phillies, with the crowd showing some life, didn't offer much in the bottom of the second although Howard did hit it hard in lineout to left.
Otherwise, it was only 6 more pitches this inning for Lohse.
Halladay finally got a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third, although Albert Pujols did hit two hard foul balls down the third-base line.
Berkman ended the inning with a broken-bat pop to third as Halladay got some measure of revenge.
It took Lohse all of 11 pitches to retire the Phillies in order, although Carlos Ruiz hit it hard to center, and Halladay had a liner to right that Craig made a play on.
But it didn't take long for the Phillies bats to finally awaken and for Halladay to regain the form that made him one of the most dominating pitchers in the game.
He didn't get the 27 in a row like last year, but 21 was enough.