Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber, right front, celebrates his home run with Bryce Harper (3) during the first inning of the second baseball game of the team’s doubleheader against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Washington. Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins is at rear. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The pressure was felt in both dugouts in this one. Legendary careers on the line, the first Phillies playoff series win in 12 years: the tension was palpable.

The Phillies sweep the Cardinals

Bryce Harper got the Phillies on the board early, ambushing a first-pitch curveball from Miles Mikolas. The 435 ft blast was the first home run Harper has hit to the pull side since coming back from injury.

The Phillies would extend the lead to 2-0 in the 5th inning. Alec Bohm would lead off with a ground run double. After Jean Segura was hit by a pitch and a walk to Bryson Stott, the bases were juiced. The Phillies got a lone run to score off of a Kyle Schwarber sac fly.

There were many chances for the Phillies to pad the lead further. In the 6th inning, JT Realmuto started the inning with a walk. Bryce Harper lined a single but was aggressive trying for second. A quick Nolan Arenado throw to second got him…or did it. It went to a review which stood. A couple of angles looked as if Harper had snuck his hand in.

The Phillies did not score.

In the 7th inning, the Phillies once again led off with a double off of Brandon Marsh. After a Jean Segura sac bunt, the Phillies failed to score again. With a lefty on the mound, Bryson Stott and Kyle Schwarber went down swinging on strikes.

October Aaron Nola balled out in his first-ever postseason start. He went 6.1 scoreless innings, scattering 4 hits and a walk. He continued his performance from his Wild Card-clinching win against the Astros.

Jose Alvarado came in to end the inning after a Corey Dickerson single. He’d get Yadier Mulia to pop out.

He’d start the bottom of the 8th. After 1 out and a walk to Lars Nootbaar, Sernathony Dominguez would be next out of the pen. After a single to Albert Pujols, Seranthony would strike out the expected 1st and 2nd place finishers for NL MVP. He had to work around 2 blown no-calls from the home plate umpire.

Zach Eflin, for the 2nd day in a row, would come in for the bottom of the 9th inning. He recorded a quick lineout off the bat of Brendon Donovan. 1 out. The would-have-been game 1 hero, Juan Yepez flew out to right field for the second out. The Cardinals’ season and the careers of 2 possible Hall of Famers fell on the shoulders of Corey Dickerson.

Phillies Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper celebrates after scoring the game-winning run on an RBI-single by Jean Segura during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

He’d loop a single into left field to bring up Yadier Molina. With 19 major league seasons at stake, Molina would be the last hope for the red birds. Would the Phillies punch their ticket to a date with the Atlanta Braves?

Not yet, Molina singled to right field. Runners on 1st and 3rd. Molina would be pinch ran for and received a standing ovation from the St. Louis faithful.

It’d be all for naught as Tommy Edmund popped out to, who else, the former Cardinal Edmundo Sosa. The Phillies head to the NLDS against hated division rival the Atlanta Braves.

The careers of Albert Pujols, Yadiel Molina, and, possibly, Adam Wainwright end at the hand of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Philadelphia Phillies are headed to the next round of the MLB playofffs!

AP Photo/Nick Wass