Instead, they're tied at two games apiece going into the decisive Game 5 tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. And Rollins will not be the series MVP because, well, one isn't handed out for this round.
It's a given that Rollins makes the Phillies go. One of the often-quoted stats: The Phillies were 48-14 (.774) during the 2011 regular season when he scored a run.
"That's true," said hitting coach Greg Gross. "But it can't be one guy. I don't think there's any explanation. When things go like they're going, it snowballs just like good things. Jimmy got us going [with a leadoff double last night] and it looked like we were going to be on a pretty good roll."
Instead, the Phillies scored only once after the first inning and lost to the Cardinals, 5-3.
Elsewhere in the Phillies clubhouse, players insisted there will be no additional pressure on them tomorrow night, even though this is a team that knew coming into the season that anything short of winning the World Series would be viewed as a disappointment.
Rollins said it straight. "The truth is, it's not any other game," he admitted. "You win or you go home.
"It's fun. It's a pressure situation. This is what we play for. This is what we get paid for, to be in these situations. And I don't think anyone in here is afraid of it. Naturally, once the game is on its way, that's the toughest part. Playing the game, it becomes baseball again. That part's not necessarily easy but you're relaxed when you get there. When you have to sit around and think about it for a day is when you can get a little tight.
"But we have a night to think about it, then a day to clear our minds and get ready for [tomorrow]. Everyone in this clubhouse is looking forward to it. Yeah, we wanted to close it out here but now we have Game 5 and there's no better place to do it than CBP."
It might be time to bring back the Phillies team slogan for the 2000 season: Bring It On.
The big names in the Cardinals lineup are Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. But it was third baseman David Freese, batting out of the seventh spot in the order, who had a double, a homer and four RBI. And, by the way, he's a St. Louis native.
"It's a dream to be part of this," he said. "This is what it's all about. To do this in front of the fans of St. Louis and a bunch of friends and family, it's amazing."
Roy Oswalt didn't pitch like the fourth ace last night. With a chance to help knock the Cardinals out of the postseason, he lasted only six innings and gave up five runs.
Did you notice? *
That Hunter Pence, of the Phillies, and Skip Schumaker, of the Cardinals, have the same walkup music, "Dirt Road Anthem" by Jason Aldean?
* That when Matt Holliday (right hand tendinitis) made his first start of the NLDS last night, it bumped Ryan Theriot from the lineup even though he'd gone 4-for-5 in Game 3?
Play of the day
Cardinals rightfielder Lance Berkman ripped an RBI double into the gap in right-center in the first inning. What made the play hilarious was that Shane Victorino cut the ball off and, when he spun to throw, slipped and fell flat on his face. The ball rolled about 10 feet away and, by the time he picked it up and got it back to the infield, Berkman had moved up to third.
And now, here's the rest of the story: Busch Stadium hosted a U2 concert on July 17. When it was over, the field was completely resodded. And the first outfielder to slip - twice - on the new grass? That would be Hunter Pence, then still with the Houston Astros, just days before he was traded to the Phillies.
Two straight late-afternoon postseason starts at Busch Stadium sparked a renewed discussion about the difficulty hitters can have picking up pitches that pass through sunlight and shadows.
"You see really good hitters look foolish on fastballs," Cardinals infielder-outfielder Skip Schumaker noted. "There's something wrong . . . but both sides have to do it and that's just what it is."
Added Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: "It happens all the time . . . The only thing that should not be ignored, it can be dangerous. When you can't see pitchers throwing the ball, that is not a good situation for either side. That to me is the only issue, poor visibility, hard to see.
"But I'll tell you, you play in the middle of the summer and you start at 7 o'clock and, until it starts to get dark, you don't see real well, either. It's something guys face all the time."
The reality, of course, is that most games that start at odd hours are to accommodate television. And baseball depends on the revenue television provides. So that's not going to change.
By last night's first pitch, an hour later than Game 3, the shadows were beyond the infield, meaning the only real impact was on the outfielders, especially Shane Victorino and Jon Jay in center.
That was illustrated on the first play of the game when Jimmy Rollins hit a long fly to center. Jay took a step in, froze and then retreated too late to make the catch as the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.