For the first time in more than ten years, the Philadelphia Phillies made a postseason appearance after displaying plenty of tenacious endurance throughout the whole season.
Friday’s ninth-inning deficit of two runs wasn’t going to be enough to keep them from winning.
even while playing the seasoned St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason.
Jean Segura and the Philadelphia Phillies won the first game of their National League wild-card series 6-3 after rallying for six runs in the ninth inning to silence a sold-out Busch Stadium crowd.
According to Sportradar, St. Louis, an 11-time World Series champion, had not lost a lead of at least two runs going into the bottom of the ninth inning in 94 postseason games.
“It’s what we do. We fight,” said Alec Bohm, who was plunked on the shoulder by Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley with the bases loaded to drive in the first run. “We’re never out of it. That’s just kind of who we are.”
When asked how it felt in the dugout during the decisive rally, Phillies manager Rob Thomson—who took over for Joe Girardi following the team’s disappointing start to the season—simply said: “Electric.”
Because Juan Yepez blasted the first go-ahead pinch-hit home run in franchise history with two outs in the seventh, the Cardinals, who were 74-3 on the season when leading after eight innings, were ready to seal another victory.
However, the Phillies’ offense eventually got going after battling all afternoon against Jose Quintana and the St. Louis bullpen. JT Realmuto singled off Helsley to start the pivotal rally, and walks from Nick Castellanos and Bryce Harper loaded the bases before the All-Star closer hit Bohm.
Helsley, who had a finger jammed on his pitching hand earlier in the week in Pittsburgh, was examined by the Cardinals’ training staff before being replaced by Andre Pallante. He allowed Segura to single through the right side of the infield for the winning run.
Brandon Marsh scored another run after a difficult hop got past Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, and Edmundo Sosa added another run by shamelessly scoring on Bryson Stott’s grounder to first base.
Zach Eflin, a Phillies reliever, had plenty of room to maneuver by the time Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
When Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson reached base and Nolan Gorman hit an RBI single to right with two outs, it appeared as though Eflin could also require it. Philadelphia is one win away from playing NL East champion Atlanta in the divisional round after Eflin replied by striking longtime Cardinals standout Yadier Molina to put an end to it.
Before the game, a nostalgic breeze blew around Busch Stadium. If the flag-waving Cardinals fans jammed into every nook and cranny had closed their eyes during introductions, they might have assumed they were watching a game from a previous generation when Ozzie Smith gleefully went to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
After all, a few players from the previous playoff matchup between St. Louis and Philadelphia were still on the roster.
When the Cardinals defeated the Phillies in a thrilling pitchers’ battle in Game 5 of the NL Division Series between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, it was exactly 11 years ago on Friday. On that particular night, Molina and Albert Pujols were on the field for St. Louis, and former ace Adam Wainwright, who was pitching out of the bullpen this series, was also present to celebrate.