Phillies vs. Cardinals: Corey Knebel survives Alec Bohm’s mistake as Phils wins again

ST. LOUIS – How many times have you seen it in the last ten years that it’s been mostly losing and non-playoff baseball seasons?

The Phillies rally, take a late lead, and then implode under the weight of poor defense and poor bullpen work.

Not this time.

The Phillies survived a punchy ninth inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 at Busch Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“It felt a bit like playoff baseball, I guess,” said Alec Bohm, who endured a ninth-inning trip through the meat grinder only to come out filet mignon. “I’ve never experienced it, but it’s what you imagine it to be.”

It’s been so much on this one, so much on the ninth inning, let’s start with an important fact on the whole:

The Phils, now 25-10 since June 1 and a season-high seven games over .500, opened that streak with back-to-back wins to go two games ahead of the Cardinals for the National’s third and final wildcard spot League to control . There’s still a lot of baseball left, a lot of time to go up or down the standings, but if the Phils are tied with the Cardinals for a wildcard berth at the end of the season, they’ll come out on top because they won the season Series. The Phils are 4-1 against the Cardinals with two games left, Sunday and Monday. (The Phils also won their season series with Milwaukee, another team that could be in the wildcard picture.)

The Phils will be leaning on their bullpen to get them through Sunday afternoon’s game. Right-hander Nick Nelson starts. Lefty Christopher Sanchez will also be in the game. The bullpen has been sensational in his last 16 games (just four earned runs in 50 innings for a .72 ERA) and he was again in the process of nailing Saturday’s win. The starting rotation also shone recently, especially against the Cardinals. The Phils have beaten the Cardinals three times in three games this calendar week. All three were shutout wins. Zack Wheeler has twice delivered seven shutout innings. Kyle Gibson, recovering from two poor starts, put up seven shutout innings on Saturday.

Cardinals righty Dakota Hudson matched zeros with Gibson through six innings. The game was scoreless until ninth place. Manager Rob Thomson considered pinching for Darick Hall against seventh-place left-hander Genesis Cabrera – Hall hadn’t hit a left-hander in his week in the big leagues – but decided against it because he wanted to keep Hall’s bat in the lineup later in the game.

“It crossed my mind,” Thomson said. “But I know he’ll be back in the ninth. It’s worked out. Sometimes not, but today it worked.”

It worked because Hall hit a leadoff double in the ninth game against Giovanny Gallegos. The Phils turned that into the only run of the game after Didi Gregorius hit a hard hit and Bohm, the same guy who homed twice in Friday night’s 2-0 win, executed a sacrificial flight.

With Seranthony Dominguez unavailable, Thomson asked Corey Knebel to pick up the final three outs for the first time since losing the closer’s job. Knebel made it, but had to survive a walk and a Bohm error to do so. He got the last three outs with a man in third place and the last two with men in second and third place.

The big plays in the inning were a strikeout by the dangerous Nolan Arenado for the first out and a terrific heads-up play by first baseman Rhys Hoskins and second baseman Bryson Stott against a Dylan Carlson ground ball. Juan Yepez, the potential tie run, froze in third of the game — Hoskins said he was surprised Yepez didn’t break home — and Gag didn’t break cover first. But Stott vigilantly covered base and the Phils made the out, 4-3 on their scorecard. Knebel then brought Corey Dickerson to the right with a flyball to end the game.

Furious!

Bohm has only been there three seasons, but he knows the Phillies have lost a lot of games like this one. He’s been through a lot. And after his mistake…

“You see something like this happening and you think you’ve seen this movie before,” he said. “You see where it’s going. But then Corey makes it big and gets Arenado. You see that and you say, ‘Okay, we have a chance to get out of this.’

“Darick had this big double whammy. Didi takes a hard punch, and I get one deep enough to score a run. Then I flip in the bottom half of the inning and make a pretty crucial mistake. But that’s exactly what this team does. We pick each other up. Corey was there to pick me up. Rhys and Stotter made a big game and we got out of there.

Hoskins has seen games like this too, games that the Phillies lost.

“They did it to us,” he said of the Cardinals.

“I’ve obviously never played October,” Hoskins continued, “but those kinds of innings, those kinds of situations, especially on the road — it’s probably our best chance to feel (what October is like) before we do.” get there. “

Consider it a test passed.

“Everyone kept calm and did a good job,” said Thomson.

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