That was, until St. Louis needed about 10 minutes to blow the whole thing wide open.
The Cardinals took advantage of free baserunners during free baseball, scoring seven runs in the top of the 11th inning to take the opener of a three-game series against the Phillies 8-1 on Tuesday night.
"I'm not even going to mention all the missed opportunities we had early on because that last inning is the one we want to remember," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Just one guy right after the other, taking good at-bats. It was good to see."
Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty delivered against Ramos' replacement, Casey Fien, smacking a 1-1 slider through the gap in right-center to score Carpenter and Fowler.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and left fielder Tommy Pham put the exclamation points on the win. Each slammed a two-run home run later in the inning as the Cardinals (32-37) snapped a two-game losing streak.
"He threw me a cutter first pitch, and I said if he throws it again, I'm going to crush it," Pham. "I wish I could predict stuff like that, but I can't, I'm not that good. But it worked there."
Kevin Siegrist (1-1) earned the win by pitching a perfect 10th inning.
The Phillies (22-47) were unable to do anything in response as they lost their fourth straight. The worst team in Major League Baseball has dropped 12 of their last 13 overall.
Ramos (0-5) took the loss in his second straight appearance giving up multiple runs without recording an out.
"Ramos couldn't throw strikes and Fien threw too many good, hittable strikes," Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin said. "Tough way to lose a game after having such a good pitching performance."
With both teams desperate for positive momentum, each starting pitcher reversed poor recent outings and gave their clubs a chance.
St. Louis' Mike Leake, who'd lost his last four starts while putting up a 6.20 ERA, held the Phillies to one run over six innings before being removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh.
Philadelphia right-hander Jeremy Hellickson took the loss in four of his last five starts while giving up 22 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings over that time. He one-upped Leake, going seven innings while allowing one run and six hits while striking out four.
Both starters had their share of difficulties in the middle innings, but both were able to limit the damage.
Hellickson pitched around a two-on, one-out situation in the second inning after giving up a solo home run to third baseman Jedd Gyorko to open the frame. He got out of it with a flyout and strikeout.
The next inning, a walk and double put men on second and third with nobody out, but Hellickson got Piscotty to ground out to third before Gyorko hit into a double play.
"I didn't see that coming," Mackanin said. "Usually when you get a man on third with nobody out you assume he's going to score...but (Hellickson) did a good job getting ground balls to get out of the jam."
Leake struggled in the fourth inning, walking the first two batters before getting a double play ball off the bat of Tommy Joseph. Philadelphia's Maikel Franco singled home the club's only run the next batter up.
NOTES: The series continues Wednesday night as Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta (1-3, 4.46 ERA) opposes St. Louis RHP Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.78). ... This is the first of 20 straight days with a game for the Cardinals, taking them into the All-Star Break. ... The Phillies designated RHP Jeanmar Gomez and OF Michael Saunders for assignment and purchased the contracts of LHP Hoby Milner and OF Cameron Perkins from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... The Phillies also placed RHP Jerad Eickhoff on the 10-day disabled list with an upper back strain, and called up 1B Brock Stassi from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.