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Missed it by this much: Cardinals 4, Phillies 3

So, so close to taking the series from St. Louis

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Bullpen games aren’t fun for anyone, but the rate at which Phillies’ relievers have been racking up zeroes made the prospect a little more bearable. Unfortunately, the bullpen came up just a little short on this day, giving the Cardinals the win.

Nick Nelson was the one who was tabbed as the starter and was given an early lead when Nick Castellanos singled in Kyle Schwarber in the first inning to give the Phillies the first run of the game.

Gifted a golden opportunity to tack on more runs with two men on and nobody out, the Phillies squandered the chance, unable to add any more. Nelson would relinquish the lead in the second inning when Lars Nootbaar singled in Nolan Arenado and knotted the game at one. To his credit, Nelson would load the bases, but wiggle out of the jam to keep it tied at one. He was replaced by Jeurys Familia in the third inning, which featured still more loaded bases thanks to Familia’s lack of control, but he also was able to get out of the jam and keep it tied.

In the fourth, Matt Vierling came up with two men on and two out, delivering a single that scored Alec Bohm and gave the Phillies the lead.

Cristopher Sanchez was the next guy up in the bullpen and pitched admirably for the first two innings. He was given more support in the fifth inning when Kyle Schwarber continued his torrid run, launching his 28th home run to deep center field, making it 3-1.

With this lead and Sanchez throwing two solid innings, it looked good for the Phillies. The Cardinals have not been hitting the ball lately, so it felt like this one felt like a good win. Too bad the Cardinals then decided to hit the ball.

It started in the sixth when Albert Pujols homered to left, his 684th of his career, to draw the Cardinals within one before they tied it in the seventh. In that inning, Sanchez gave up a leadoff single, then was replaced by Andrew Bellatti. Bellatti promptly gave up a double that put runners on second and third with no one out. The Phillies chose to play the infield back, which allowed Austin Romine on third to score on a groundball to first base and tie the game at three. Bellatti would get out of the inning further unscathed, sending it to Seranthony Dominguez in the eighth.

Dominguez didn’t have it today.

A single by Pujols to start the inning, a single with one out and a walk to Paul Goldschmidt meant the bases were loaded and Dominguez was in trouble. Tommy Edman stepped up and drove a ball to shallow-ish center field that Vierling grabbed and fired home, only to miss the runner by a fraction of a second.

Initially called out at home, replay showed pinch runner Dylan Carlson was able to sneak his hand onto the plate before the tag was applied and St. Louis had the lead. Ryan Helsley came in and locked the ninth inning down and the Cardinals had the win.

These two teams will play the rare Monday fourth game of the series tomorrow.