The Philadelphia Phillies scored six-runs in the ninth against the St. Louis Cardinals —one of the best bullpens in baseball — en route to a stunning 6-3 win and a 1-0 series lead.
“Hard to believe, Harry.”
The game was a pitchers duel into the seventh. Both Cardinals’ starter Jose Quintana and Phils’ starter Zack Wheeler were lights out. Both allowed two hits and no runs.
St. Louis took a 2-0 lead on a pinch hit two-run home run by Juan Yepez off of Jose Alvarado in the seventh and it looked like it was all she wrote.
The Phillies continued to be stifled by the Cards bullpen going 0-9 with one base runner, a Bryson Stott walk, in the sixth through the eight innings.
There was no reason to think the ninth would be any different. Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley struck out Rhys Hoskins to start the inning and then completely imploded.
J.T. Realmuto singled to start the Phillies rally. Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos followed with walks to load the bases for Alec Bohm. Bohm took a 100-MPH fastball off of the shoulder to drive in the Phillies first run.
Jean Segura followed with the eventual game winning single scoring Harper and Realmuto to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. It spelled the end of the day for Helsley who left with an apparent injury.
The Phillies continued their rally against Cards pitcher Andre Pallante. Pallante immediately gave up a run on Stott RBI fielders choice. Pinch runner Edmundo Sosa made the play of the inning scoring from third on the sharp one hopper to Paul Goldschmidt to extend the lead to 4-2.
Brandon Marsh add to the hit parade with an RBI single scoring Segura on a play that was badly misplayed by Nolan Arenado.
Kyle Schwarber added another insurance run with a sacrifice fly scoring Stott to give the Phils a 6-2 lead. Hoskins ended the Phillies ninth the way he stated it, with a “K.”
To add to the drama, the Cardinals threatened in their half of the ninth.
Former Phillies starter turned reliever Zach Eflin forced Goldschmidt to fly out to center. Arenado followed with a single. Eflin countered by getting Paul DeJong to fly out to Marsh for the second out but followed with a walk Dylan Carlson.
Pinch hitter Nolan Gorman drove in a run on a single to right cutting the Phils lead to 6-3. Suddenly, the Cardinals had the tying run at the plate in the form of the clutch Yadier Molina. Elfin was able to strike out the future Hall of Famer to end the Cardinals threat and game one of the series.
How improbable was the Phillies win? The Cardinals were previously 93-0 in the postseason when leading by two runs or more. It was only the second time in Phillies the Fightin’s came back to win when trailing by two or more in the ninth. The other game, Ryan Howard’s famous “Get me to the plate, boys” moment in game four of the 2009 NLDS.
The Phillies will look to advance to the National League Divisional Series with a win tomorrow night in game two. Aaron Nola will face the Cards’ Miles Mikolas in the now elimination game.
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