PHILADELPHIA -- Randal Grichuk does not want to get sent back to the Minors -- and he's playing like it.Jhonny Peralta led off the 11th inning by hammering a double into left. An out later, Grichuk followed with a two-bagger of his own, driving home Peralta and giving the Cardinals
PHILADELPHIA -- Randal Grichuk does not want to get sent back to the Minors -- and he's playing like it.
Jhonny Peralta led off the 11th inning by hammering a double into left. An out later, Grichuk followed with a two-bagger of his own, driving home Peralta and giving the Cardinals a 4-3 lead that St. Louis top prospect -- per MLBPipeline.com -- Alex Reyes closed out in the bottom half of the inning on Friday at Citizens Bank Park, earning his first career save. The win was the Cardinals' fifth in a row and gave them a two-game lead over Pittsburgh for the second National League Wild Card spot.
The double was Grichuk's third hit of the game. He finished a triple shy of the cycle after homering down the left-field line in the second and adding a single in the fifth. He's hit safely in all seven games he's played in since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis, driving in nine in that span.
"We all know what he's capable of doing," Cardinals second baseman Jedd Gyorko said. "He's just got to get a little more consistent. As far as talent or stuff like that, you're not going to find someone with more talent than what he's got. He's just going to keep getting better and better. He's gonna be a guy we rely on going down the stretch here."
Phillies closer Jeanmar Gómez allowed a two-run, game-tying blast off the bat of Gyorko in the ninth inning to blow his fourth save of the year and erase a stellar outing from Adam Morgan, who outdueled Adam Wainwright, tossing six innings of one-run ball.
Odúbel Herrera and Freddy Galvis led off the sixth with back-to-back blasts to open up a 3-1 Phillies lead off Wainwright. The dingers followed Wainwright's complaint about the mound condition after he slipped delivering a pitch to Herrera. He wasn't the same after the grounds crew manicured the mound. After the homers, Wainwright issued walks to Aaron Altherr and Ryan Howard but he escaped, erasing Altherr on a double play and Howard on a caught-stealing.
"We just didn't capitalize on scoring opportunities," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We had our chances. A man on third base with less than two outs twice. We couldn't get him in. We couldn't make contact."
Overcoming home runs and mound troubles, Wainwright tossed his first quality start after four tries. He got back on track with six innings of three-run ball against the Phillies after having given up six and seven runs, respectively, in his last two starts.
"I'm still not where I want to be," Wainwright said. "I'm patiently, slash, impatiently waiting on my good stuff to come. I know it will come. But today was significantly better than last time out for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Morgan answers the call: Mackanin said before the game that Morgan "has to start doing something" to keep a job in the big leagues, pointing to his 1-7 record and 6.62 ERA heading into the game. Morgan delivered, and he allowed two or fewer runs in six or more innings for the first time in nine starts, dating to May 21 against Atlanta.
"I don't really want to look at it that way," Morgan said, asked if he considers these final few weeks make-or-break for him. "I just want to take advantage of the opportunity. I feel like once you start looking back, like, 'Oh, gosh, I've really got to do good here to stay in the big leagues,' I feel like the mind wanders. It's pretty simple. I'm trying to take advantage of the opportunity and give the team a chance to win every time I go out." More >
Waino in the rain-o: The Cards need Wainwright back to his normal self for the stretch run. He hardly mowed down the Phillies, but he pitched well enough to win. After Peter Bourjos' triple in the second inning, Wainwright retired 11 straight. Then Wainwright slipped on a muddy mound, and Herrera put one in the seats.
"You know, I think subconsciously," Wainwright said about whether slipping on the mound had an effect on him. "I saw myself spinning off a little bit more after that. Physically, it wouldn't have, if I were to just trust it a little bit more. But I certainly slipped on that one pitch pretty good. When something like that happens, and you don't really trust it after that, it can bother you a little bit."
Wainwright did say the grounds crew did a good job of fixing the mound after his mishap.
Gomez blows it: Gomez has been one of the Phillies' best stories of the season, beginning the season as a middle reliever only to become their closer in early April. He entered the game having saved 32 games in 35 opportunities, but he could not put away Gyorko in an eight pitch at-bat in the ninth.
"He hung a split to Gyorko," Mackanin said. "It was center cut. He's been so good for us this whole year. He's been very good for us. I can't fault him." More >
A home run, what else? The Cardinals were down to their final two outs when Gyorko stepped to the plate as the tying run in the ninth. With Peralta on first after reaching on a fielder's choice, Gyorko worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Gomez and promptly deposited the eighth pitch over the left-field wall, tying the game. Gyorko's home run didn't only tie the game -- it was the Cardinals' second of the night, making this their ninth straight multi-homer game, tying a Major League record.
"I think it just shows what this lineup is capable of," Gyorko said. "I'm a big believer that hitting is contagious. The guys in front of you are hitting the ball well, I think that just goes on right down the lineup. One through nine, and 10, 11, 12 the way it's been on this team, we've got some guys that can really put the ball out of the ballpark." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dating back to Aug. 5, the Phillies have homered in 13 consecutive games for the first time since homering in 14 straight games from May 27-June 9, 2013. The team has 19 homers in those 13 games.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Tommy Joseph, pinch-hitting for Howard, ripped a ball into the left-center-field gap off Kevin Siegrist in the eighth inning and stretched a single into a double, at least initially, after he was called safe on Grichuk's throw. The Cardinals challenged, and after a two-and-a-half minute review, the call was overturned.
"It was so close," Joseph said. "I felt myself hit the bag with Kolten [Wong] tagging right away. That was a tough play."
Matheny challenged for a second time in the ninth inning on a tailor-made double-play ball. The Phillies didn't turn two, but Matheny challenged that Emmanuel Burriss's foot came off second. It did not, the umpires confirmed.
The Phillies challenged a call that Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch in the 10th inning, but the replay official confirmed the call.
Cardinals: The club's No. 2 prospect, Luke Weaver, makes his second Major League start at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Weaver held the potent Cubs offense to two runs over four innings in his debut.
Phillies: Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (9-7, 3.65 ERA) returns to the mound Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Cardinals after tweaking his back Aug. 10 at Dodger Stadium. Hellickson had been scheduled to pitch this Wednesday against the Dodgers in Philadelphia, but the Phillies pushed back his start a few days to make sure his back was healthy. He said it is.
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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Cardinals on Friday.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.