Photo is credited to Getty Images.
The Cardinals, losers of five of their last seven, and the Phillies, winners of their last six, met at Busch Stadium this week to play four games; the Cardinals were looking to reverse both of those trends.
Game One: Cardinals 10, Phillies 3 — WP: Adam Wainwright (2-3) LP: Jeremy Hellickson (2-2)
Coming off an aggravating previous series that they were unable to manufacture many runs in, the Cardinals took out their offensive frustrations in the first game of the series against the Phillies, who surrendered just eight runs in their last three-game set.
With one out in the third inning and the bases loaded by way of a walk drawn by David Lough and singles from Peter Bourjos and Odubel Herrera, the Phillies scored twice on a single from shortstop Freddy Galvis, putting runners at the corners. Next, third baseman Maikel Franco hit a sacrifice fly to score the runner from third and give Philadelphia starter Jeremy Hellickson a 3-0 lead to work with.
Hellickson avoided trouble until the fourth inning. Yadier Molina led off the inning with a single, and Aledmys Diaz followed Molina’s base hit with a hit of his own. Two outs later, St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright came to bat and hit a ball to the upper deck in left field for his seventh career home run, tying the score at three.
Hellickson and Wainwright combined to pitch a scoreless, hitless fifth inning before the Cardinals tacked on three in the sixth and knocked Hellickson out of the ballgame. Hellickson surrendered back-to-back home runs to Matt Adams and Diaz and a single to Randal Grichuk — who pinch hit for Wainwright — before being lifted for Brett Oberholtzer. Oberholtzer allowed a base hit to Stephen Piscotty, which scored Grichuk and gave the Cardinals a 6-3 lead.
Seung Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless seventh for the Cardinals before St. Louis put up three in the home half, all on back-to-back homers. Kolten Wong collected his first extra-base hit of the year, powering a ball over the right-field wall for a two-run homer. Grichuk followed the homer with one of his own, his fourth of the season, to give the Cardinals a 9-3 lead.
Brandon Moss singled in the eighth to plate Piscotty, who reached base on his seventh double of the year, and give the Cardinals their eventual final score of 10-3. Seth Maness pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Cardinals, his second consecutive scoreless outing after allowing a run in his three prior to secure a victory for his squad.
–The win on Monday for the Cardinals snapped their four-game losing skid and Philadelphia’s six-game winning streak.
Game Two: Phillies 1, Cardinals 0 — WP: Aaron Nola (2-2) LP: Michael Wacha (2-2) SV: Jeanmar Gomez (9)
Doubles for both teams in the first inning may have given the impression that the ballgame to follow would be one of high scoring. Nonetheless, both pitchers ultimately turned in starts that couldn’t be disapproved of, and there’d be only run scored in the contest.
Michael Wacha started for the Cardinals, and Aaron Nola started for the Phillies. The two first-round draft picks of their respective teams matched zeros through the first five frames of the game. In fact, the pair allowed a total of six hits and struck out eleven during the span.
The first run of the ballgame would be scored in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, St. Louis native Ryan Howard stepped in the box to face Wacha. Wacha’s first delivery to Howard was a cutter, one that Howard turned on and drove 411 feet to right field. Howard’s solo shot gave the Phillies and Nola a 1-0 advantage which, given the way he was mowing through the opposing batting order, was enough.
Nola’s night ended after seven innings, as his pitch count was over 100. Nola allowed three total base runners in his outing: the aforementioned double off the bat of Matt Carpenter in the first, a walk to Kolten Wong in the second, and a single to Yadier Molina in the fourth.
Wacha lasted eight innings, but the one run would prove to be killer. Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings en route to a 1-0 victory and Nola’s second win in four decisions this season.
–With the game-winning shot in the sixth inning, Ryan Howard has 22 home runs in his career against the Cardinals.
Game Three: Cardinals 5, Phillies 4 — WP: Kevin Siegrist (4-0) LP: Jeanmar Gomez (2-1)
Zeros lined either side of the run column until the fourth. Mike Leake surrendered his first hit of the night to Freddy Galvis with one out in the frame. Maikel Franco walked, putting runners at first and second for Ryan Howard. Like he did the night before, Howard was responsible for the first run in the third game of the series. Howard cranked a Leake delivery to deep center field for a three-run homer, giving the Phillies a 3-0 edge. Philly’s lead grew to 4-0 in the fifth when Odubel Herrera led off the inning with a home run, his third of the year.
The Cardinals got something going against Phillies’ starter Adam Morgan in the fifth, beginning with a leadoff double from Ruben Tejada, but the double took a while to collect. Tejada hit the ball down the left-field line, so close to the line that it was initially ruled foul. After a replay review that took over five minutes, Tejada was placed at second base and credited with a double, his second of the year. Catcher Eric Fryer drew a walk next, and pinch-hitter Brandon Moss loaded the bases with a single.
The lineup then turned over to Aledmys Diaz, who batted in the one-hole for the Cardinals on Wednesday. Diaz hit a ball sharply to shortstop Freddy Galvis, which hit off his glove and in to the outfield. Tejada and Fryer scored to cut the Cardinals’ deficit to 4-2. Following Diaz in the batting order was Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty sharply singled up the middle to score Diaz and inch the Cardinals closer in the run column.
The Phillies and Cardinals would hold each other off the board for the next three innings, all thanks to their bullpens. Leake’s night ended when Moss pinch-hit for him in the Cardinals’ three-run fifth, and Morgan left the game after allowing the single to Piscotty. In fact, the bullpens allowed just one hit each through eight innings.
With a one-run lead, closer Jeanmar Gomez entered the game in the bottom of the ninth in search of his tenth save and second in as many days. Gomez walked Kolten Wong to begin the inning and got Matt Carpenter — a pinch-hitter for Fryer — to pop out. Matt Adams pinch-hit for Kevin Siegrist, who pitched the top of the ninth, and lined the first pitch he saw from Gomez off the top of the left-field wall for a double, putting runners at second and third for Diaz. The Cardinals chose to swap Adams for Carlos Martinez to get a little more speed. The battery of Gomez and Carlos Ruiz opted to walk Diaz to face Piscotty, even though Piscotty had two hits on the night.
A six-pitch battle between Gomez and Piscotty ended with a sharply hit ball to shortstop Freddy Galvis, which scored Wong to tie the score. Galvis flipped the ball to third base in an attempt to record on an out on Martinez, who was barreling toward third from second.
Martinez made a wide turn around third and was caught in a run down between third base and home. While scramming back to third, Martinez tripped, and the Phillies took advantage of his blunder by recording the second out of the inning.
Matt Holliday came up next, and, with runners at the corners and two outs, he ripped a single to left field, scoring Diaz from third and giving the Cardinals a 5-4 vcitory.
–Including his game-ending single, Matt Holliday has eight walk-off hits in his career.
Game Four: Cardinals 4, Phillies 0 — WP: Jaime Garcia (2-2) LP: Jerad Eickhoff (1-4)
Backed by a solo homer in the first inning, a three-run seventh, and a strong outing from their starter, the Cardinals took the fourth and final game of the series.
Matt Carpenter led off the game against Jerad Eickhoff with a double, but was hung up between second and third after Stephen Piscotty lined a comebacker to the mound. Eickhoff made a throw to Freddy Galvis, who tagged Carpenter out at second and made a strong throw to first to record an out on Piscotty and complete the double play. Brandon Moss homered shortly after the twin killing, his seventh of the year, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Jaime Garcia started for the Cardinals and breezed through the Phillies’ lineup. In fact, Garcia held the Phillies off the base paths until he allowed a single to Cameron Rupp in the fifth but escaped without damage. Garcia’s counterpart, Eickhoff, was pretty solid through six innings before getting into trouble in the seventh.
Eickhoff walked Yadier Molina to open up the seventh, and then he balked, pushing Molina to scoring position. Jeremy Hazelbaker singled, knocking Eickhoff out of the game and bringing in Elvis Araujo. Jedd Gyroko drew a walk next to load the bases. Ruben Tejada plated Molina on a sacrifice fly, giving St. Louis a 2-0 edge.
Araujo walked pinch-hitter Matt Holliday and recorded the second out of the inning before being lifted for Colton Murray. Murray’s first task was Stephen Piscotty, who promptly doubled down the left-field line to score two.
With a 4-0 lead now, the Cardinals turned the game over to their bullpen. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Trevor Rosenthal, though not in a save situation, retired the Phillies in the ninth.
–Matt Adams exited the game after four innings with a left leg contusion; he is considered day-to-day.
–Brandon Moss’s home run in the first traveled 462 feet, the longest distance on a long ball off the bat of a left-handed hitter in Busch Stadium III history.
Phillies: The Phillies will travel to Miami to take on the Marlins. The two teams have not faced each other yet this season, despite sharing a division.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will welcome in the Pirates for a three-game series this weekend. The Pirates dropped all three games against the Cubs over the week.