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Phillies sweep Cardinals behind Bryce Harper’s home run to advance to NLDS

Written by Tony Ghaul

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to the NLDS for the first time since 2011, as they’ve knocked off the St. Louis Cardinals with a two-game sweep in Busch Stadium. The 2-0 victory Saturday evening for the Phillies clinched the best-of-three Wild Card Series, launched a celebration and moved them on in the bracket.

The stars of this game were Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper watches his home run in the second inning. Photo courtsey of JEFF CURRY, USA TODAY SPORTS

Nola got through 6 2/3 scoreless and allowed only four hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out six. He made some huge pitches, particularly striking out Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado with a runner on base to end the sixth.

Aaron Nola delivered a strong performance in Game 2. Photo courtsey of Yong Kim / Staff Photographer

Harper started the scoring with a homer to lead off the second inning. It was a no-doubt, 435-foot shot. The Phillies tacked on insurance later with a Kyle Schwarber sacrifice fly scoring Alec Bohm, who doubled to start the rally. Those two runs were all Nola and the Phillies bullpen would need.

Harper, who was hitless in the opener, staked the Phillies to the lead when a 76 mph curveball left his bat at 111.6 mph on the first pitch of the second inning. The ball sliced through the cold October breeze.

Nola turned in a brilliant outing. He gave up a single to Lars Nootbaar to lead off the game before blowing through the rest of the St. Louis lineup.

Nola also got some spectacular defense behind him.Third baseman Alec Bohm made a stellar snare of Molina’s sharply hit ball down the line leading off the third, and then he made an even more impressive grab to rob Arenado of extra bases in the fourth.

Bohm followed that with a ground-rule double leading off the fifth. Brandon Marsh laid down a sacrifice bunt and, after Jean Segura was plunked by the last pitch that Mikolas threw, Jordan Montgomery walked Bryson Stott on four pitches to load the bases. Kyle Schwarber followed with a sacrifice fly to extend the Philadelphia lead.

Phillies Alec Bohm after hitting a double against the St. Louis Cardinals during game one of the National League Wild Card Series on Friday, October 7, 2022. Photo courtsey of Yong Kim / Staff Photographer

The sweep gives the Phillies an extra day off before heading to Atlanta, where they were 3-6 in the regular season against the defending World Series champions. The Braves won eight of their 11 meetings overall this season.

Bryce Harper said, “We’re gonna watch the Eagles beat the other Cardinals and hopefully go 5-0.”

Philadelphia Phillies DH Bryce Harper (3) reacts after hitting a solo home run during the second inning in Game 2 of a National League wild-card baseball playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in St. Louis. Photo courtsey of Jeff Curry, USA Today sports

About the author

Tony Ghaul