Cardinals vs. Phillies score takeaway: Jean Segura fires superb ninth-inning comeback in Game 1

The Philadelphia Phillies shocked the St. Louis Cardinals with a ninth-inning comeback in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series Friday afternoon in St. Louis. It was 2-0 Cardinals heading to ninth but would end in a 6-3 win for the Phillies.

Here’s how it went.

Helsley wavering in furious Phillies comeback

The Phillies offense has been completely punchless for most of it. Heading into the ninth inning, Alec Bohm’s brace to start the fifth inning was their biggest scoring threat, and he was left helpless at third base. It seemed elementary that the Cardinals closer to Ryan Helsley would close things out in the ninth inning because the Phillies hadn’t really given anyone any reason to believe they had a rally in them.

And yet, what a rally it was.

Rhys Hoskins started the inning with one strikeout, but then the rally began. JT Realmuto did a single, followed by marches to Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos.

During those two at bats, it became apparent that Helsley had lost command, especially with his triple-digit fastball. He had recently been dealing with an issue with the middle finger of his throwing hand, so it’s possible that was at least part of the problem. He stayed in the game and hit Bohm with a pitch to take home a run. With a 2-1 lead, the Cardinals had no choice but to eliminate Helsley.

Rookie Andre Pallante came in and Jean Segura found a way through the infield.

Segura, prior to this game, had the most regular season games played without a playoff appearance, among active players. Quite a thrill for his first, huh?

The Phillies would tack on three more runs.

It was a ninth by six runs despite not having a run through the first eight innings. Ridiculous and unbelievable here on day one of the playoffs.

Yepez looked like a hero

Rookie Juan Yepez hit Corey Dickerson against Phillies left-hander Jose Alvarado in the bottom of the seventh and had the first playoff pitch of his career:

The two-point shot was the first hit in Cardinals history. It was also a bit of a “sigh of relief” moment for the Cardinals, as missed chances were the theme until then in what was previously a scoreless game.

Nolan Arenado flew to the deep left center late in the fourth. It looked like a home run from the get-go and Arenado reacted like he thought it was gone after it ended in a 388-foot out. He hit very well, carrying an expected .840 batting average.

Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Albert Pujols had two hits and no outs and went on a double play. He is the career leader in anchored double plays, but he also has a lot of RBI on the record, so it looked like a huge moment for the Phillies at the time.

Instead, Yepez came on and looked like the hero…until ninth.

Quintana treats for the Cardinals, again

José Quintana was traded from the Pirates to the Cardinals before the deadline and he wasn’t exactly the sexiest acquisition, but he was nailed for the Cards. He made 12 starts with the Cardinals and never once allowed more than two runs. He’s allowed just three runs overall in his last six starts and, going back to his days with the Pirates, he’s had a 1.67 ERA in his last 14 starts.

He went 5 1/3 innings on Friday, allowing only two singles and one walk. He only struck out three, but he induced low contact all day and kept the ball on the ground, getting six groundouts. In the immortal words of The Dude, freaking “Quintana, that creep can roll, man.”

wheeler too

Not to be outdone, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler threw 6 1/3 frames scoreless, also allowing just two singles. He actually gave up some hard contacts, but enjoyed good batting fortune. Overall, though, it was a great workers-type outing. He put his team in a position to win the game despite a lackluster attack and that’s all you can ask of a starter.

The ninth round of the offense will deservedly make headlines, but let’s not forget Wheeler’s work. He largely contributed to this victory.

The cardinals organized a small gathering on the ninth

The Cardinals managed to score a run and then bring Yadier Molina to the plate with two runners, which meant he accounted for the tying run with two outs. Phillies reliever Zach Eflin hit him to end the threat.

Molina went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in the game. He hit .214/.233/.302 during the regular season.

Next: Match 2 Saturday

They will do it again in St. Louis on Saturday night with a 7:37 a.m. local start time, which is 8:37 a.m. ET and the last game of the day. The scheduled starting pitchers are Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25) for the Phillies and Miles Mikolas (12-13, 3.29) for the Cardinals.

A win for the Phillies means they advance to face the Braves in the NLDS, starting in Atlanta on Tuesday. A Cardinals win keeps them alive and provides Game 3 entertainment on Sunday.

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