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Did a squirrel jinx the Phillies in Game 4?

A squirrel runs past the leg of St. Louis Cardinals' Skip Schumaker while Schumaker bats during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League division series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Louis.
AP Photo/Tom Gannam
Skip Schumaker and squirrel
A squirrel runs past the leg of St. Louis Cardinals' Skip Schumaker while Schumaker bats during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League division series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Louis.
AP Photo/Tom Gannam

The Philadelphia Phillies have been almost unbeatable this year, winning 102 games and boasting a pitching rotation that ranks statistically as one of the all-time greatest.

So who could stop them from cruising to a World Series title?

The St. Louis Cardinals? Or a St. Louis squirrel?

A squirrel dashed across home plate Wednesday night in the fifth inning of the Phils-Cards game at Busch stadium - just as Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt delivered a pitch. The ump (Angel Hernandez) called it a ball, and Oswalt was irked that the pitch counted.

"I didn't want to stop in the middle of my motion, so I threw it," the pitcher said after the game. "I was wondering what size of animal it needed to be for it not to be a pitch."

Oswalt, who had dominated the Cardinals in previous playoff games (5-0 in 10 postseason starts), got hit hard by St. Louis - most notably surrendering a 2-run homer an inning after the squirrel interruption.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about the rodent after the game (see video below) and he hinted that if he had a gun, he may have used it.

As for the squirrel, he fired back - via Twitter, of course. (An account attributed to the rodent has been active since Tuesday night, when one of the animals was first spotted at the stadium).

Busch Squirrel's retort: "Charlie Manuel is too old to shoot me or have a gun."

The Phillies can only hope that Busch Squirrel doesn't travel to Philadelphia for Game 5.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com