ST Lewis — Jean SeguraHis career spanned 11 seasons and 1,328 games before he finally reached the postseason, the longest active streak in the major leagues. On the morning of his first playoff game, the Philadelphia Phillies’ second baseman didn’t sleep. He woke up at 7am “with adrenaline in my body”. Wore it on Friday and the fringe never came off.
“I was mentally focused every game, every pitch,” Segura said. “I came ready to play a game today and to be able to be here — I just thank God that everything was on my side.”
With the Phillies down by a run, the bases loaded, one out in the top of the ninth and the St. Louis Cardinals chasing their injury closer, Segura snuck a grounder past the slightly drawn infield, plating two runs and propelling the Phillies to a 6-3 lead in the opener of their best-of-three wild-card series. The improbable victory put them on the cusp of advancing to the National League Division Series.
Backed by a stellar performance from the Cardinals Jose Quintana And with an electrifying pinch-hit homer John Yepes, took a 2-0 lead into the final inning, and had every reason to believe they were cruising to a Game 1 victory. They were at home, with a sold-out Busch Stadium crowd in a frenzy, their lights even closer, Ryan Helsleywas on the hill.
What happened next was the credibility.
Entering the ninth inning, the Cardinals led by as many runs as 93-0 in postseason history. Meanwhile, the Phillies went 0-54 in the regular season in the same situation. They scored six times — the ninth most by a team in postseason history. None of their runs came on hard contact. Alec Baum Disconnected with loaded platforms, Brandon Marsh A helicopter hit past the gauntlet Nolan Arenado, Kyle Schwarber made a sacrificial fly and Bryson Stott Then brought in a run Paul Goldschmidt Made a diving play on his grounder, but threw home late.
The biggest runs came off Segura’s bat, as he threw a slider low and away Andre Pallante And hit a four-hopper to the right side that went wide Tommy Edman, who was playing lightly considering Segura’s speed. The Cardinals had a ground ball pitcher against a ground ball hitter and got a grounder that could have produced a game-ending double play — but it was hit just wide of right.
“That’s how the inning went,” Arenado said. “It just didn’t go our way.”
And it all seemed to stem from Helsley’s right middle finger, which he stuck while assembling himself on a fielding play in the final game of the regular season. Helsley threw a few pitches off the mound during Thursday’s workout, and while he admitted his finger was a bit stiff, he indicated he’s ready to close games in the postseason for the Cardinals.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol turned to Helsley with one on and eight outs and watched Marsh and Schwarber make quick work of him. Shortly after the start of the ninth inning, Marmol said Helsley “started to lose a little bit of feel for his pitches.”
Helsley, who had emerged as one of the game’s dominant hitters this season, began to miss all over the strike zone, eventually throwing just nine of his 23 pitches for strikes in the ninth. JD Realmudo He later contributed a single Bryce Harbor And Nick Castellanos Back-to-back drew walks, pitches were high and in or low and out. At that time, Cardinals Ballande and Jack Flaherty Warming up in bull breeding. Bohm would be Helsley’s last batter — Helsley hit 101 mph over his left shoulder.
After throwing a warm-up pitch well outside, Helsley left, then left Busch Stadium for imaging on his troubled finger.
He might have lost the series.
“We’ve had guys step up all year,” Marmol said. “If he goes down, somebody else has to step up and do the job, that’s part of it. Nobody’s going to be upset about us, I’ll tell you that.”
Friday marked the ninth-longest half-inning in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information Research. There are now five games in postseason history in which a team that led by two or more runs after the eighth inning has lost by two or more runs — and the Cardinals have been involved in three of them. It was the first time the Phillies had scored six or more runs in any postseason inning.
They picked the right time.
“That’s probably the most exciting inning I’ve ever pitched,” Realmudo said of the top of the ninth. “And it didn’t even hit a big home run.” The motivation was there for us and a lot of guys stepped up when they needed it.”
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