MLB wild-card playoffs: Phillies stun Cardinals with six-run comeback in ninth

Philadelphia's Nick Castellanos, left, and Bryce Harper celebrate after scoring on a single by Jean Segura.
Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos, left, and Bryce Harper celebrate after scoring on Jean Segura’s single in the ninth inning of the Phillies’ 6-3 comeback win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League wild-card playoffs Friday.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Philadelphia scored six times in the ninth inning off the stingy St. Louis bullpen, highlighted by a bases-loaded single by Jean Segura, and the Phillies beat the National League Central champion Cardinals 6-3 on Friday in the opening game of their NL wild-card series.

The Cardinals, who were 74-3 this season when leading after eight innings, were poised to put away another close game after Juan Yepez connected for the first go-ahead pinch-hit homer in franchise history with two outs in the seventh inning.

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But after struggling all afternoon against José Quintana and the St. Louis bullpen, the Phillies finally got their powerful offense going against Ryan Helsley. JT Realmuto began the ninth-inning rally with a single, and walks for Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos loaded the bases before the All-Star closer plunked Alec Bohm to score a run.


The Cardinals’ training staff came out to check on Helsley, who had jammed the middle finger on his pitching hand earlier in the week in Pittsburgh. He tried to throw another warmup pitch but was pulled for Andre Pallante, who gave up Segura’s hit through the right side of the infield that put Philadelphia in front.

Edmundo Sosa added a run when he brazenly scored on Bryson Stott’s grounder to first base, and Brandon Marsh drove in another run when a tough hop got past Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong.

By the time Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly, Phillies reliever Zach Eflin had plenty of wiggle room in the ninth.

It looked as if Eflin might need it too when Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson reached base and Nolan Gorman hit a two-out single to right. But Eflin responded by striking Yadier Molina to end the game, leaving Philadelphia a win away from facing NL East champion Atlanta in the divisional round.

It was the first time in 94 postseason games that St. Louis, an 11-time World Series champion, had blown a lead of at least two runs going into the final inning, according to Sportradar.

“It’s what we do. We fight,” Bohm said. “We’re never out of it. That’s just kind of who we are.”


Asked how it felt in the dugout during the go-ahead rally, Phillies manager Rob Thomson — who replaced Joe Girardi after their poor start to the year — replied simply: “Electric.”


Seattle Mariners 4, Toronto Blue Jays 0

TORONTO — Luis Castillo and Andres Munoz combined on a shutout, Cal Raleigh hit a two-run homer, and the Mariners won in their first postseason game since 2001, beating the Blue Jays in the teams’ American League wild-card series opener.

Eugenio Suarez had two hits and two RBIs and rookie Julio Rodriguez reached base three times and scored twice for the Mariners, who can wrap up the series with a win in Game 2 on Saturday.

The series winner plays AL West champion Houston in the Division Series starting Tuesday in Texas.

The Mariners gave Castillo a three-run lead before he threw his first pitch. Suarez hit an RBI double off Blue Jays All-Star right-hander Alek Manoah in the first inning, and Raleigh followed with a drive to right.


“It was very good going out there and having that lead,” Castillo said through a translator. “That gives me that little extra energy.”

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Throwing two kinds of fastballs at 100 mph and his changeup at 92 mph, Castillo scattered six singles in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked none, facing the second-highest-scoring team in the AL.

“When you’ve got two pitches over 99 that are doing two different things, that makes it tough,” Blue Jays infielder Whit Merrifield said.

Castillo, acquired in a midseason trade from Cincinnati, became the first pitcher in Mariners history to throw more than seven scoreless innings in a postseason start. The right-hander turned away from home plate and pumped his fist after fanning designated hitter Danny Jansen to end the seventh, Castillo’s third straight strikeout.

Munoz came on in the eighth after Castillo hit George Springer on the left wrist with his 108th pitch. Springer went down in pain and was checked by the trainer but remained in the game. X-rays on Springer were negative, interim manager John Schneider said.


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Cleveland Guardians 2, Tampa Bay Rays 1

CLEVELAND — José Ramírez connected for a two-run homer, Shane Bieber dominated Tampa Bay for 7 2/3 innings, and the young Guardians played with poise in their postseason debut, beating the Rays in Game 1 of the AL wild-card matchup.

Ramírez’s shot off Tampa’s Shane McClanahan in the sixth inning — the Rays initially appealed whether Amed Rosario stepped on second — helped Cleveland end an eight-game postseason losing streak and left baseball’s youngest team one win from advancing in its first season as the Guardians.

Though short on experience, the Guardians seem to have everything else.

“At this point, we’re dealing with what we got in that clubhouse,” Bieber said, brushing off the team’s youth. “And that’s a winning ballclub.”

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Bieber, rocked by the New York Yankees in his only other playoff appearance two years ago, was spectacular, yielding just three hits and striking out eight before being lifted in the eighth to a thunderous ovation.

Emmanuel Clase took it from there, getting four outs for his first postseason save and finishing a game that took just 2 hours 17 minutes — the fastest in the postseason since 1999 and Cleveland’s quickest since its World Series-clinching win in 1948.


Jose Siri homered for the Rays, who dropped their sixth straight game overall and turn to starter Tyler Glasnow in Game 2 on Saturday to try to keep their season alive. The series winner plays AL East champion New York in the Division Series starting Tuesday in the Bronx.