Craig's DP puts Allen wrench in Cards' rally

Craig's DP puts Allen wrench in Cards' rally

Craig's DP puts Allen wrench in Cards' rally
ST. LOUIS -- It came as no surprise to Allen Craig on Tuesday to learn that the Cardinals hit into more double plays this season than any other Major League team.

The left fielder was just sorry he had to find out the hard way.

"When you have Lance Berkman walking a ton of times and Albert [Pujols] walking a ton of times ... that's going to happen," Craig said. "You're going to ground into some double plays."

Phillies closer Ryan Madson induced Craig to hit into an inning-ending DP with the bases loaded, ending a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the eighth of Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

That missed opportunity and others -- the Cards were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position, stranding 14 -- contributed to their 3-2 loss, with Game 4 coming up on Wednesday on TBS at 4 p.m. CT -- a must-win game for the Redbirds, who trail in the series, 2-1.

St. Louis -- which led the NL in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and finished tied with Milwaukee for the highest slugging percentage -- hit into 169 double plays this season, 15 more than Baltimore, which was second.

The 169 DPs tied for seventh most in Major League history. It's the second-highest total for a single season since 1996.

"We take pride in all our National League records, including hitting into double plays," Berkman quipped.

Craig certainly wasn't in the mood to laugh Tuesday, especially after he felt good about his chances in his at-bat against Madson with the bases full.

The eighth inning started with a Ryan Theriot single off Vance Worley. Antonio Bastardo replaced Worley and got pinch-hitter Nick Punto to fly out to center field for the first out. The next pinch-hitter, Matt Holliday, then singled off new pitcher Brad Lidge to put two on with one out.

Lidge then allowed a single to Rafael Furcal to load the bases, sending the sellout crowd of 46,914 at Busch Stadium into a frenzy. That's when Phils manager Charlie Manuel called for Madson.

"It was a good opportunity for us," Craig said. "Madson is a tough pitcher. I was a little jumpy on his first pitch [foul ball]. On the second pitch, I got a pitch to hit. I must have hit the top half of it. It literally went right into his glove."

Craig bounced a ball at second baseman Chase Utley, who took the ball to the second-base bag, stepped on it and then threw to first to first to complete the inning-ending DP.

"He hit that ball about as hard as you can hit it, but it was right at Chase," Theriot said. "But yeah, I thought we were going to tie it."

As for Madson, who got five outs for the save, he wasn't focused on Pujols, who was on deck when Craig came to the plate.

"I didn't think that far ahead," Madson said. "I was just focused on that guy and trying to get him to roll into a double play."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.