ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nick Castellanos hit a three-run homer, lifting the NL wild-card leading Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-4 victory over St. Louis on Friday night to assure the Cardinals of their first losing season since 2007.
“I’m doing my job,” Castellanos said. “Am I thrilled about every aspect of my season personally? No, because I know I’ve hit periods of inconsistency. I’m always a person to drive to get better. I have an unhealthy knack for never really being satisfied with anything I do.”
It’s only the second time in the last 24 seasons (2000-present) that the Cardinals (65-82), currently in last place in the NL Central, have endured a losing season. St. Louis has MLB’s second-longest active streak of winning seasons at 15 (2008-22). The Yankees currently have 30 winning seasons.
St. Louis stranded 15 runners. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the eighth and ninth and scored just one run.
“I don’t think we played our best baseball out there tonight,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. “But we grinded it out.”
Aaron Nola, who was staked to a 4-0 lead, was pulled after 4 2/3 innings after giving up two singles. He allowed seven hits and two earned runs. Matt Strahm (9-4) struck out pinch-hitter Tyler O’Neill to get out of the inning.
“I just wasn’t getting ahead too well,” Nola said. “First-pitch strikes weren’t really there. They battled me. This was a big win. Every win matters right now.”
José Alvarado, the sixth pitcher for the Phillies, earned his eighth save by pitching the ninth despite giving up a run-scoring two-out single to Tommy Edman. Alvarado struck out Lars Nootbar looking to end the game.
Zack Thompson (5-6) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks.
Castellanos homer in the top of the first for a 4-0 lead. The first run came when Trea Turner scored on a fielder’s choice.
St. Louis scored twice in the third on run-scoring singles by Alec Burlison and Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals added an unearned run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by rookie Masyn Winn.
Philadelphia extended its lead to 5-3 on RBI double by J.T. Realmuto.
THE GHOSTS OF RED OCTOBER
The Phillies visit to St. Louis is the first time since the 2022 National League Wild Card Series when they won the first two games at Busch Stadium and advanced to the National League Division Series.
Bryce Harper was ejected for throwing his bat in frustration after he struck out in the third inning Friday. Thompson fanned Harper on a slow curveball to end the third. Harper hurled his bat from the batter’s box up the third-base line in foul territory. It landed about 75 feet away, in front of the Phillies’ dugout. Plate umpire Alex Tosi ejected Harper after the bat toss, and Harper yelled at Tosi before leaving the field. “It’s probably not the first time you’ll see Harp get thrown out of a game,” Thomson said. “I don’t think you have to say anything to Harp. He understands. He’s very emotional, a huge competitors. At the end of the night, he understands how these games are.”
ISRINGHAUSEN JOINS STAFF
Former Cardinal relief pitcher Jason Isringhausen is joining the staff for this seven-game homestand and will assist with the pitching. He will be in the dugout. Isringhausen spent 16 years in baseball, including seven with the Cardinals. He amassed 300 saves — 217 with St. Louis.
Cardinals: C Willson Contreras (right hand contusion) was back in the starting lineup. He was held out of Wednesday’s game.
Phillies LHP Ranger Suárez (2-6, 3.93) was set to face RHP Miles Mikolas (7-11, 4.75) on Saturday.
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