Extra inning games would be a lot more fun if you were guaranteed victory, wouldn't they? Of course, when you are leading 3-1 going in to the 9th inning, extra innings really shouldn't be on the mind.
Jeanmar Gomez was unable to hold that 3-1 lead Friday night, and the Phillies gave away a game to a Cardinals squad in a tight Wild Card race by a final score of 4-3. Yes, it's okay to still hate the Cardinals.
For some odd reason, CSN felt it was cool to show the 2011 NLDS Ryan Howard footage on the pre-game show. I caught this with the sound down, but, really? Really? Come on. We don't need to see that. That's just not necessary, okay Comcast? Never again, please.
When the game actually did begin, the Phillies got what they needed out of Adam Morgan. Yes, once again, a Phillies starter failed to get through seven innings, but that's never really been Adam Morgan's M.O. here in the first place. Morgan faced one batter in the 7th but was unable to get him out, as Pete Mackanin went to the bullpen at the first sign of distress. Still, not bad. Morgan went six innings and allowed just one run. There's not much else you can ask out of him.
Morgan on the hill typically means a whole lot of offense is needed, but with a solid performance, the Phillies didn't need an offensive explosion against Adam Wainwright, who apparently still pitches for the Cardinals. Thought we were done with him a long time ago.
The Phillies got to Wainwright in the 6th in style. With the score tied at one a piece, Good Odubel decided to show up and blast a line drive homerun to right field to start off the inning. And yes, Freddy Galvis was also in that four-bagger mood, as he followed Herrera with a solo shot to right of his own. Back-to-back homers are always fun. Unless you're the Orioles, who just had to go and upstage the Phillies with back-to-back-to-back shots on Friday night.
The back-to-back homers weren't the most unique part of the 6th inning, though. Ryan Howard, yes, that Ryan Howard, attempted to steal a base. It did not end well. With Carlos Ruiz batting, Howard darted for second. Yadier Molina had something to say about that, and threw him out by about 10 feet. According to the stats folks at Elias and elsewhere, it was Howard's first attempted steal since 2011. And those in attendance tonight may get to say they saw Ryan Howard's last steal attempt. Yippee.
With Morgan gone early in the 7th, Edubray Ramos cleaned things off nicely to get the Phillies out of any trouble. Hector Neris had a relatively quick 8th inning to set the table for Jeanmar Gomez in the 9th. It didn't go as planned.
Molina singled to lead off the inning, and after a force out (and subsequent unnecessary replay requested by Mike Matheny) Jedd Gyorko stepped to the plate to ruin everyone's Friday night. After a 1-2 pitch missed by inches, Gyorko lifted a towering two-run shot to left to tie the game at three a piece. It was Gomez's fourth blown save of the season. I guess it can't be too much of a surprise when this happens, particularly when you're relying on a closer who has 37 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings pitched.
The Phillies did have a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. Peter Bourjos led off with a single. Emmmmmannnnuel Burrrrissss (I think I got all those consonants right), who is somehow back in the Majors, laid down a bunt to move Bourjos to second. But St. Louis' Seung Hwan Oh got Cesar Hernandez to line out and Freddy Galvis to strike out (with an Odubel Herrera intentional walk sandwiched in between) to get out of the 9th.
Frank Herrmann got into his second game since being called up from Lehigh Valley. He got through the 10th inning unscathed, but the 11th would do him in. Jhonny Peralta doubled to lead off the inning, and after getting Gyorko to fly out, Randal Grichuk slapped a long double over the head of Herrera to bring home Peralta, putting the Cardinals in front 4-3.
A final opportunity for the Phillies in the bottom of the 11th sputtered, as Herrera grounded out with two men on to end the game. Hey, at least a Phillies starting pitcher escaped without being hit by a batted ball, attacked by bees, or hurt in a horrific synchronized diving accident. At this point, it's the little things.