For Lohse, the losing pitcher in the opener of the best-of-five NL division series, a promising night came apart quicker than an overcooked rib.
Back in the ballpark that had been his temporary home for 11 second-half starts in 2007, the peripatetic Lohse looked masterful for five innings.
But in the sixth, with his Cardinals up, 3-1, the Phillies bats, a noisy crowd, and his own apparent discomfort coagulated into a jam he couldn't escape.
"I felt like I was on top of my game to that point," said Lohse. "To sum it up, I missed two spots."
Howard and Ibanez didn't miss the misses. The five runs their right-field homers produced for the Phillies allowed the home team to cruise from there in an 11-6 rout.
"He was pitching a similar game to what he threw here a couple weeks ago," said manager Charlie Manuel, referring to St. Louis' 4-3 win on Sept. 19 when Lohse limited them to one run in 71/3 innings and beat Saturday's winner, Roy Halladay.
But in the sixth, Rollins bounced a multi-hopper up the middle to start the pivotal inning. After Lohse struck out Chase Utley, Hunter Pence singled to bring up Howard.
"I was being careful," Lohse said of his approach with Howard, whom he'd walked on four pitches with a man on second in the fourth.
The Phils cleanup hitter saw one change-up after another. He fouled off two with two strikes, the last perhaps the best one Lohse threw.
Then, with the count still at 3-2, and after a brief chat with catcher Yadier Molina, the goateed pitcher fired Howard one more change-up.
"He fouled off a really good change-up earlier in the at-bat," said Lohse. "I tried to come back with the same pitch and I hung it."
Howard said that after the Molina-Lohse get-together, he was looking for the pitch.
"I'm not trying to read their mind," Howard said of the mound conference. "I know in that's situation they'll be careful. Probably get a change-up. But I was able to foul off two really good ones and he left one hanging."
Howard deposited the ill-fated pitch deep into the rightfield seats to put the Phillies and Roy Halladay ahead, 4-3.
In the Cardinals third-base dugout, Tony La Russa didn't move. And the Cards manager stayed put even after Shane Victorino followed that with the second of his three singles and lefthanded-hitting Raul Ibanez came to bat.
"At that point, he'd pitched Ibanez tough," La Russa said, "so I thought it was too early to get him."
Ibanez slammed a second hanging change-up, this one on a 2-0 count, into those same right-field stands. Now it was 6-3 Phillies.
"My decision," La Russa said about letting Lohse face Ibanez, "was based on what I had seen. I didn't see him do anything wrong."
What he did see was Lohse, who will turn 33 this week, shut down the quick-swinging Phils early. He retired 10 hitters in a row to start the game, before Utley's double in the fourth.
"The first time through the order they were swinging early," Lohse said. "You know, they'd take a strike and they'd swing. We went through like the first seven hitters with sinkers and an occasional change-up. I thought that would work to my advantage later in the game."
He thought he could fool the Phils later with lots of change-ups.
"I might have," Lohse said, before reiterating what sounded like a mantra, "but I hung two of them."
Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @philafitz on Twitter. Read his blog, Giving 'Em Fitz, at www.philly.com/fitz.