Following news of Odubel Herrera’s arrest and a nearly hour long rain delay before the game, the Philadelphia Phillies had quite a few excuses to roll over Tuesday evening against the St. Louis Cardinals. Gabe Kapler’s squad did the exact opposite instead.
The Cardinals didn’t waste time getting after Nick Pivetta in his first start back from Triple-A, as six-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt used just one arm to put the Cardinals on the board with a solo home run in the top of the first inning:
Unlike the start of the game, there was no delay to this homer. It got outta here in a HURRY. #TimeToFly
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 29, 2019
Two batters later, former Miami Marlin Marcell Ozuna extended the Cardinals lead to three with a two-run opposite-field home run:
Couldn't even send a tweet about Goldy's homer before Ozuna hits a two-run shot. 🙄 Killin' me (but that's alright)! #TimeToFly
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 29, 2019
The Phillies, squaring off with Adam Wainwright, showed quite a bit of fight Tuesday, however.
After striking out in the bottom of the first inning, Bryce Harper doubled to right field in the bottom of the third inning, which plated Pivetta and Andrew McCutchen to put the Phillies within one run of the Cardinals. It was one of two doubles for Harper on the evening.
An inning later, the Phillies took the lead as Cesar Hernandez launched a 405-foot two-run home run, his sixth home run of the season:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 29, 2019
Hernandez probably isn’t eager to see the calendar flip to June this weekend, as May has probably been the best offensive month of his career. Hernandez, the longest-tenured Phillie, is now hitting .349 in May, with three home runs and 16 RBIs.
Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader and catcher Yadier Molina – one of the best defensive catcher of all-time – combined for an excellent defensive play in the bottom of the fifth inning to keep the Phillies from adding a fifth run.
With two outs, Rhys Hoskins singled into center field, with Harper knocking off his helmet as he rounded third base and attempting to score from second base. Harper did everything right, but sometimes your opponent just makes an even better play:
He's just Bader! 😁 pic.twitter.com/70OTeHKJdM
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 29, 2019
The Phillies didn’t ultimately need that fifth run, though.
Despite Pivetta lasting just five innings, Kapler only used three relievers to close out a victory. Edgar Garcia, who has been quietly impressive since being called up from Triple-A earlier this month, allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings of relief. Seranthony Dominguez, who often has struggled pitching more than one inning, didn’t allow a hit in an 1.1 of work to get the ball to the ninth inning. And in the ninth inning, Hector Neris nailed down his 10th save of the year, giving the Phillies their seventh one-run victory of the year.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Two long innings limited Pivetta to just five innings in his return from Triple-A, but after a rather disastrous first inning, he settled in nicely on the evening.
Pivetta allowed just one hit after the first inning, striking out six Cardinals. He did walk two and use nearly 30 pitches in the top of the fourth inning, so it was far from a perfect return for the 26-year-old. But it does show some signs of growth that he was able to settle in after a first inning that suggested that the Phillies may be blown out Tuesday evening.
Pivetta is scheduled to pitch again Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium in the finale of a three-game weekend set at Chavez Ravine.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Bryce Harper
If Bryce Harper’s helmet falls off – or he knocks it off – multiple times in a game, there’s a good chance that his team was victorious that day. That happened twice in Tuesday’s series opener against the Cardinals, and the Phillies won.
Harper did strike out two more times, continuing an alarming trend in his first season in red pinstripes. The six-time All-Star has now struck out 75 times in 2019, putting him on pace for well over 200 strikeouts in 2019.
At the same time, Harper’s strikeouts haven’t prevented him entirely from being a productive offensive player in 2019. Monday, that continued to be the case, as Harper drove in two runs with a double in the bottom of the third, before doubling a second time in fifth inning. The 26-year-old now has 16 doubles in 2019, putting himself on a pace to set a career high in that category.
- Wednesday May 29, 2019 at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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