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He’s a ten: Phillies 12, Cardinals 1

Zack Wheeler notched his 10th victory of the season with a 10K gem

St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In the middle act of the weekend series, as well as the nine-game homestand, the Phillies (71-58) tightened their grasp on the windpipe of the listless St. Louis Cardinals (56-74) with a 12-1 drubbing of the NL Central basement dwellers.

Zack Wheeler became the third Phillies starter to register double digit wins this season as he authored a masterful outing, allowing just one run on three hits and compiling 10 strikeouts for the fourth time this season.

Wheeler struck out six of the first seven batters he faced, including five in a row, before allowing a third-inning solo home run to Cardinals’ DH, Luken Baker, the first of his career.

Cardinals’ starter, Dakota Hudson, gave up walks to Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper in the bottom of the first before getting out of the jam with a double play on a ground out from Nick Castellanos and retiring the side in order in the second.

With bases loaded, no outs to begin the bottom of the third thanks to a leadoff single by Brandon Marsh and back to back walks worked by Jake Cave and Schwarber, Trea Turner grounded to short for an easy double play that scored Marsh and brought the score level. Harper would bring Cave home with a hard line single to right to take a 2-1 lead.

Bryson Stott doubled the home team lead with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Turner chopped a 1-1 changeup into the dirt that bounced just fair over third base and rolled down the line for a double. Harper tagged Hudson for a second consecutive RBI single to extend the advantage to three.

Castellanos led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double off the top of the right field wall. After advancing to third on a Stott ground out, Castellanos was brought home on a sac fly by Alec Bohm to make it 5-1. JT Realmuto worked a walk that ended Hudson’s evening.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Schwarber hooked a ball down the left field line for a stand up double yielded by Cards’ reliever, Andre Pallante, and came home four pitches later on a bloop single by Turner.

In the next at-bat, Harper was credited with a double and his third hit of the night on a ball that was scalded at Cards’ shortstop, Masyn Winn, and ricocheted over him into left field, putting runners on second and third with one out. After another Cardinals’ pitching change, Castellanos hit a 2-2 slider from Giovanny Gallegos just over the left field wall to increase the run margin to 8.

After a single by Stott and a walk by Bohm, Gallegos surrendered his second three-run home run of the inning to Marsh, a 3-1 fastball that landed somewhere in Pennsport. 12-1 Phils.

Castellanos’ homer set a Phillies record for home runs in a month which was quickly broken by Marsh and now stands at 48. They have four more games to pad it.

With his pitch count sitting at 77, Wheeler came out to start the bottom of the eighth inning before yielding a leadoff single to Cardinals’ left fielder, Tyler O’Neill. Phillies’ manager, Rob Thomson, went to Gregory Soto for the lefty-lefty matchup on Cards’ center fielder, Richie Palacios. Soto surrendered a single to Palacios to put two men on with no outs but got out of the jam with a double play and a weak fly out.

Wheeler’s night ended with a line of 7.0 IP, 10 K, 3 H, and 1 ER on the solo homer from Baker.

Dylan Covey had a bounce-back outing after a rough appearance on Monday, setting down the side in order and striking out his final batter to seal the victory.

The win gives the Phils’ their second straight series victory after dropping or splitting the previous three. The lead over the Diamondbacks for the first Wild Card spot currently stands at three games, with Arizona, Chicago and Cincinnati’s games still in progress at the time of this writing.

Tomorrow’s series finale matinee will see Aaron Nola go up against Cards’ lefty, Drew Rom.