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Duel of the fates: Phillies 2, Cardinals 1

Zack Wheeler’s pitching and Rhys Hoskins’ two home runs led the Phillies to victory

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals
Rhys Hoskins supplied just enough offense for the Phillies on Monday night
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

A dominating pitching performance from Zack Wheeler plus two home runs from Rhys Hoskins seems like it should make for an easy Phillies victory. But it wasn’t easy, and for a couple of seconds, it seemed like it wouldn’t be a victory. However, the Phillies ultimately held on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1.

Wheeler was on top of his game from the start. He retired the first 14 Cardinals batters, and allowed just one hit while striking out nine in eight innings. The only problem was that Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was just as dominant, and provided us one of the best pitching duels of the season.

Even at age 39, Wainwright is still capable of pitching a gem, and he held the Phillies in check most of the night. He pitched a complete game in defeat, and only gave up hits to two different Phillies. J.T Realmuto hit three singles, but thanks to the ineptitude of the batters surrounding him, they didn’t provide much impact.

On the other hand, Rhys Hoskins’ two hits were a bit more impactful. In the 7th inning, he finally broke up the scoreless game with a blast to left field.

His home run in the 9th inning didn’t have the same distance, but it counted just the same on the scoreboard.

Blessed with an insurance run, Wheeler came back out for the ninth inning, but after he walked the leadoff man, manager Joe Girardi called for Hector Neris to finish things off.

Tommy Edman greeted Neris with a sharp ground ball that a good defensive team might have played into an out, but against the Phillies went into right field for a single. Dylan Carlson followed with an RBI groundout that left the tying run at second base with one out.

With Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado due up, the Phillies seemed poised for another heartbreaking bullpen loss, but Neris rallied to coax Goldschmidt into a foul popup (despite Alec Bohm’s best efforts to drop it) and Arenado into a loud fly ball that was finally caught at the warning track.

While the two-man show was impressive on Monday, hopefully the rest of the team can start chipping in as well going forward.