Philadelphia’s Nick Castellanos, left, and Bryce Harper celebrate after scoring on a single by Jean Segura in the ninth inning against the Cardinals on Friday in St. Louis. The Phillies scored six runs in the ninth inning to win Game 1 of the NL wild-card series, 6-3. Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — The Philadelphia Phillies showcased plenty of plucky resilience all season, bouncing back from a poor start and the firing of their manager to qualify for the postseason for the first time in more than a decade.

It was going to take more than a two-run deficit in the ninth inning Friday to keep them down.

Even against the playoff-tested St. Louis Cardinals.

Philadelphia rallied for six runs in the ninth, silencing a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium and sending Jean Segura and the Phillies to a 6-3 victory in the opening game of their National League wild-card series.

It was the first time in 94 postseason games that St. Louis, an 11-time World Series champion, had blown a lead of at least two runs going into the final frame, according to Sportradar.

“It’s what we do. We fight,” said Alec Bohm, who was plunked on the shoulder by Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley with the bases loaded to drive in the first run. “We’re never out of it. That’s just kind of who we are.”


Asked how it felt in the dugout during the go-ahead rally, Phillies Manager Rob Thomson – who replaced Joe Girardi after their poor start to the year – replied simply: “Electric.”

That’s because the Cardinals, who were 74-3 this season when leading after eight innings, were poised to put another one away after Juan Yepez hit the first go-ahead pinch-hit homer in franchise history with two outs in the seventh.

But after struggling all afternoon against José Quintana and the St. Louis bullpen, the Phillies finally got their offense going. JT Realmuto began the decisive rally with a single off Helsley, and walks for Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos loaded the bases before the All-Star closer plunked Bohm.

The Cardinals training staff checked on Helsley, who jammed a finger on his pitching hand earlier in the week in Pittsburgh, and he was replaced by Andre Pallante. He gave up Segura’s go-ahead single through the right side of the infield.

“It was exactly what I wanted,” Pallante said. “It just got through.”

Edmundo Sosa added another run when he brazenly scored on Bryson Stott’s grounder to first base, and Brandon Marsh drove in another run when a tough hop got past Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong.


“Unfortunately,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said, “that last inning got away.”

By the time Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly, Phillies reliever Zach Eflin had plenty of wiggle room in the ninth.

PADRES 7, METS 1: Josh Bell and Manny Machado smashed two of San Diego’s four home runs off Max Scherzer, and the Padres romped past New York at CitiField t in their playoff opener.

Yu Darvish shut down the Mets once again, and San Diego also got long balls from leadoff batter Jurickson Profar and slumping Trent Grisham against an ineffective Scherzer — booed off the mound in the fifth inning at Citi Field.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner exited his first postseason start for New York down 7-0, a massive disappointment after Scherzer was signed to a $130 million contract in December to pitch big games for his new team.

San Diego needs one win over the next two days to take the best-of-three National League wild-card series and advance to face the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers.


Blake Snell starts Saturday night in Game 2, likely against scuffling Mets ace Jacob deGrom. New York said the result Friday night would determine whether deGrom or Chris Bassitt gets the ball next.

After winning 101 games during the regular season, second-most in franchise history, the Mets are suddenly facing elimination at home after falling flat before a sellout crowd of 41,621 in their first playoff game since 2016.

Eduardo Escobar homered and doubled off Darvish, who has won all three of his starts against New York this year with a 0.86 ERA.


GUARDIANS 2, RAYS 1: The Guardians were certain of two things: José Ramírez would deliver, and Amed Rosario touched second base.

Cleveland’s kids were right.


Ramírez connected for a two-run homer, Shane Bieber dominated Tampa Bay for 7 2/3 innings and the young Guardians played with poise in their postseason debut, beating the Rays in the wild-card opener in Cleveland.

Ramírez’s shot off Tampa’s Shane McClanahan in the sixth inning – the Rays initially appealed whether Rosario stepped on second – helped Cleveland end an eight-game postseason losing streak and left baseball’s youngest team one win from advancing in its first season as the Guardians.

Though short on experience, the Guardians seem to have everything else.

“At this point we’re dealing with what we got in that clubhouse,” Bieber said, brushing off the team’s youth. “And that’s a winning ballclub.”

Bieber, rocked in his only other playoff appearance two years ago by the Yankees, was spectacular, allowing just three hits and striking out eight before being lifted the eighth to a thunderous ovation.

Emmanuel Clase took it from there, getting four outs for his first postseason save and finishing a game that took just 2 hours, 17 minutes – the fastest in the postseason since 1999 and Cleveland’s quickest since its World Series-clinching win in 1948.


Jose Siri homered for the Rays, who dropped their sixth straight game overall and turn to starter Tyler Glasnow in Game 2 on Saturday to keep their season alive. The series winner plays the AL East champion New York in the Division Series starting Tuesday in the Bronx.

With 17 players making MLB debuts this season, the Guardians entered the playoffs unsure of what to expect. Fortunately, Ramírez and Bieber had been here before, and both came through for the AL Central champions.

With Cleveland down 1-0 and running out of outs, Ramírez delivered – as usual.

“Nothing surprises me,” Rosario said of his teammate, who is batting .455 with homer and six RBI in his last three playoff games. “For me, he’s the best player in baseball.”

Rosario singled with one out and Ramírez, a four-time All-Star who finished second to Aaron Judge in RBI in the AL this season, drove a 1-1 changeup over the wall for just his second postseason homer in 97 at-bats.

However, as the red-towel waving fans in Progressive Field screamed, Rays Manager Kevin Cash appealed whether Rosario missed second. TV replays showed him slowing and touching the bag, but that didn’t give Guardians Manager Terry Francona any comfort as the Rays proceeded to challenge.


“When they start huddling like that, you start to get a little nervous,” he said.

Cash couldn’t tell whether Rosario missed the bag.

“It was kind of grainy,” he said. “But it certainly looked like there was reason to take a look at it and let’s see what New York had to say.”

While the umpires waited for an official ruling, the crowd spontaneously sang “Jose … Jose … Jose,” like never before, prompting Ramírez to pop out for a curtain call. The home run stood and Cleveland had a slim lead it protected.

MARINERS 4, BLUE JAYS 0: Luis Castillo and Andrés Muñoz combined on a shutout, Cal Raleigh hit a two-run homer and Seattle won in its first postseason game since 2001, in Toronto.

Eugenio Suárez had two hits and two RBI and rookie Julio Rodríguez reached base three times and scored twice for the Mariners, who can wrap up the series with a win in Game 2 Saturday. The series winner plays AL West champion Houston in the Division Series starting Tuesday in Texas.

Throwing two different kinds of fastballs at 100 mph and his changeup at 92 mph, Castillo scattered six singles in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked none, facing the second-highest scoring team in the AL.

Castillo, acquired in a midseason trade from Cincinnati, became the first pitcher in Mariners history to throw more than seven scoreless innings in a postseason start.

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