That one stung - for the Phils, for the fans, for everyone not living in New York or wearing a Yankees uniform. If you reside in the Philadelphia area and slept well last night, you were one of the few.

For the first three innings, Cole Hamels looked liked last year's National League Championship Series and World Series MVP. He looked like Hollywood again - then something horrific happened and he ended up playing the lead role in a bad B horror flick.

Tough night for it.

We've gotten used to the Phils dropping the second game of a playoff series (it's happened the last four times). What we're not used to is watching the Phils fall behind by two games to one in a series. That's what went down last night, and there's no use spinning it.

The series isn't over - not by any stretch - but it also won't be easy going forward. You're looking at Joe Blanton this evening just to get the Phils square again. If you feel good about that, that makes one of us.

There's no denying last night's game was critical. A few hours before the first pitch, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked whether Game 3 served as a tipping point.

"I think it's extremely important," Girardi said. "Greg Maddux used to say he thought the most important pitch, from what I heard, was the 1-1 pitch because you were in the driver's seat when you got to 1-2."

Charlie Manuel and the Phils better figure out how to throw up a stop sign tonight, otherwise the Yankees will be speeding down the HOV lane toward Titletown.

Ugh. Last night was so promising. Hamels looked incredible - at first. Then Alex Rodriguez came to the plate in the fourth inning. That's when we should have known something was about to go horribly wrong. Fox put up a graphic about Rodriguez not having a hit off Hamels in his career - and A-Rod promptly cracked a homer off the right-field camera. The TV jinx never fails. If you want to blame the Phils' collapse on Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, I won't try to stop you this time.

Just thinking about the series now makes me nauseous. Maybe that's appropriate. The Infectious Diseases Society is holding a convention in Philly this weekend.

There's a cheap joke in there somewhere about the Yankees, but after last night I'm not in the mood to make it.

What else is new?

In a surprising development, a World Series game in Philadelphia was delayed by inclement weather last night. Game 3 started an hour and 20 minutes late. Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humor. When I see her, she's getting a swift kick in the cumulus clouds.

Well(s) said

Former Yankees pitcher-turned-garbage-disposal David Wells is writing a column for the New York Post. You remember the New York Post. That's the tabloid that photo-shopped Shane Victorino into a skirt last week and called the Phillies "the Frillies."

In his latest offering, Wells fired (not so) clever shots at Philly and said "all the bad things" people have heard about the city are "absolutely true." The piece came complete with this witty title: "City of Brotherly Love? My Butt!" Columnists don't generally generate their own headlines, but I'll take a guess and say Wells - who admitted to pitching a perfect game while "half drunk" and who now looks like he uses cheeseburgers as a condiment - wrote that one himself. Just a hunch.

Boomer added that a Philly crowd cursed him out a few years ago (shocking; he's such a swell guy) and that "the people in that town would give the finger to their own mom."

That's totally uncalled for. It only happened once, and Mom was asking for it.

Welcome to Heartbreak

Kanye West was supposed to attend Game 3 with Philly-raised girlfriend Amber Rose. Instead, Rose went to the game with her mother. Sniffle. He's no good for you, Amber. Call Page 2 if you need a shoulder to cry on.

Vice President Biden, Katie Couric and Minka Kelly were all reportedly at the game last night. Minka has terrible taste in men, but as far as I'm concerned she's welcome in Philly any time. . . . If you're looking to get out some extra aggression today - and after last night, I'm guessing you are - the Asian World of Martial Arts will have A-Rod and Eli Manning grappling dummies set up in Lot M at the Linc from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. . . . Finally got around to listening to the Guerrilladelphia song "Unstoppable." It's about the Phillies, and it's not bad. (Best line from the hook: the opponents keep "coming up short like Webster.") The group includes Philly artists G. Love (of G. Love & Special Sauce fame), Don McCloskey, Chuck Treece, Tom Spiker, Kuf Knots, and Phil Nicolo. You can listen to the song at . . . Someone asked Charlie Manuel if there were too many off days budgeted into the World Series and whether he'd like to see the schedule "tightened up." "You know, if we win [the series]," Charlie deadpanned, "I'll say it's just right." Let's hope you get to say exactly that, Chuck.