Last night was one of those Phillies games when every time you look up, the ball was sailing over the fence. The Cardinals put on a display of power that had avoided them all weekend, crushing Jeremy Hellickson and Brett Oberholtzer with five dingers that buried the Phillies under a 10-3 loss. I myself spent the evening gesturing incredulously at the television while people who had assumed I was listening to them speak realized my focus was elsewhere. It was insulting for everyone involved.
After Adam Wainwright's game-tying three-run home run, the Cardinals spent the rest of the evening trying to get as cute as possible; coming out for multiple curtain calls, celebrating as if it were a playoff game in the dugout, and Yadier Molina nonsensically doing some push-ups at the plate. You could understand them being excited to actually win a game, after being utterly flattened by the Nationals over the weekend.
But there was no room left by Aaron Nola on Tuesday night for the Cardinals to get cute. There was nothing endearing about the way they were silenced by the 22-year-old all evening, getting on base over the game's first seven innings only three times, on a pair of hits and a walk, but never scoring. Nola struck out seven, per usual, saw his ERA drop down to a far more appropriate 2.93, threw a season high 111 pitches, and left the Cardinals more flummoxed than they'd appeared all season, until Hector Neris came to the mound.
Neris entered in the eighth and let his twisted splitter do the talking, striking out the side before you could finish a hot dog.
Neris now leads all MLB relief pitchers in strikeouts pic.twitter.com/wmK7QVQz5i— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 4, 2016
Jeanmar Gomez entered in the ninth and allowed a hit, but left with the save as the Phillies took game two of this four game set, 1-0.
The single run came off the bat of Ryan Howard in the sixth inning, which should come as no surprise. Howard's terrifying history of production in his hometown is well documented, to the point that whatever iteration of the Cardinals awaits him on his next visit should just stay home and cry.
Ryan Howard: First player in Phillies history (yes, all of it) to win a pair of 1-0 games via solo HR in same season. @jaysonst— Doug Kern (@dakern74) May 4, 2016
To his credit, Cardinals starter Michael Wacha pitched admirably, going eight innings, but giving up three walks, five hits, and an earned run - all the kind of stuff Nola avoids.
The Phillies' success has us all a little giddy, while in the national writers, it has only increased the widely informed rhetoric.
i dont want to say the phillies are spooky good, but their 1-0 win ended with gomez on mound & adams at bat #gomezaddams— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 4, 2016
Indeed. Sort of makes all those home runs last night seem silly, doesn't it, Cardinals? All that celebrating and hooting and hollering, when all the Phillies needed tonight was a single blast to hold you down.
Just feels silly. To me.