ST. LOUIS — 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.
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.”