Time will tell whether the St. Louis Cardinals’ come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday will kickstart their season.
But one thing’s for sure, they needed it.
Matt Holliday’s two-out single climaxed a two-run ninth inning against Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez that gave St. Louis the narrow win. The Cardinals (14-14) trailed 4-0 after 4 1/2 innings.
“That’s just a great win,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “To obviously be down four ... just to watch them keep going, taking their at-bats. The bullpen came in and did a great job. It was a good overall effort by a lot of guys.”
It was the first blown save in 10 chances for Gomez (2-1). Kevin Siegrist (4-0) had the win for the Cardinals, throwing a scoreless ninth. He followed two scoreless innings by Matt Bowman and a scoreless eighth by Seung Hwan Oh.
The Cardinals can take three of four in the series with a victory in the finale at 12:45 p.m. Thursday.
Kolten Wong walked as a pinch-hitter leading off the ninth. One out later, Matt Adams doubled to right-center, a drive that missed by inches of being a home run.
Aledmys Diaz was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Stephen Piscotty singled to left to tie the game. However, Carlos Martinez, who ran for Adams, was caught off third base and tagged for the second out as Diaz took third.
Holliday followed with his sixth game-winning hit in his Cardinals career, a single through the left side that set off a celebration between first and second.
“That guy’s a sinkerball pitcher and I thought he might try to pitch me in,” Holliday said. “So I wanted to see a pitch and was just trying to hit a ball hard.
“It was an important game for us to win. We needed it and we need to win (Thursday) to win the series. All games are important, but this was one we needed to win.”
Matheny was most impressed with his team’s resiliency.
“Guys refused to (die) without going down swinging,” Matheny said. “Great fight. We love to see that. It was a great at-bat by Kolten, getting on there and making things happen. We needed that.”
Mike Leake got a no-decision, but didn’t pitch well.
Leake gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Howard in the fourth and a solo shot to Odubel Herrera in the fifth that made it 4-0.
Leake has allowed six homers in 34 1/3 innings and his ERA is 6.03. He retired the first 10 hitters before running into trouble as he pitched out of the stretch.
“He just got into a real good rhythm,” Matheny said. “You could see it was a fast tempo, which he normally keeps. And when it’s going well, you want to keep riding that. The same thing can happen when you start getting into a little bit of a rut where you’re not making the pitches you want.
“Guys that like to work fast, it can work for them and sometimes work against them. He’s thrown so many good pitches, so many good innings. He just has that one that costs him. It’s something we’re going to have to fight our way through.”
Leake left the stadium without comment.
On further review
Umpires huddled to review four calls, and the reviews lasted 9 minutes, 4 seconds.
In the fifth, umpires reversed a call of Ruben Tejada’s drive being called foul and it was changed to a double after a review of 5:01.
Later in the fifth, Cardinals catcher Eric Fryer was called safe at the plate on Diaz’s two-run single. The Phillies challenged the call, which was upheld. The review lasted 2:21.
In the ninth, Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez was called out at first on an infield roller. A crew-chief review showed Hernandez was safe with a single. The review lasted 1:08.
Finally, a 34-second review was held on Adams’ ninth-inning double. The Cardinals hoped it was a home run, but replays showed it hit off the top of the wall.
“I thought it hit that flower bed out there and bounced back,” Adams said. “I saw the umpire’s arms signal not a homer, and I just had to get to second safely.”
While the reviews add minutes of inactivity, Matheny said they must be done.
“We hate doing it for the fans and the pace of the game,” Matheny said. “Our guys are standing out there, their guys are standing out there. The one, in particular, took a long time. But we’ve got to get something going.
“The umpires did a nice job. They haven’t taken it personal. There’s going to be those nights when you have one close play after another. We’ve got to take our time and look at it. We have the technology there. We’re not out here trying to rush through this thing. We just want to get it right.”
Holliday said the interruptions mess with the flow of a game.
“It’s just crazy how many close plays there were, I guess, and that’s what happens when you have close plays like that in a close game,” Holliday said. “It did feel a little funny how many stops (there were). I felt like I was the third out on all of them, so we’re staying on the field not knowing whether to go in or (stay out).”
Cardinals 5, Phillies 4
Matt Holliday highlighted a two-run ninth against Jeanmar Gomez with a single through the left side Wednesday as the Cardinals rallied to win after trailing 4-0. Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Odubel Herrera homered in the fifth to put the Phillies ahead 4-0. Both homers came against Mike Leake. The Cardinals got within 4-3 with a three-run fifth.
By the numbers
Howard has 23 career home runs against the Cardinals and has homered in 10 of 12 career series in St. Louis. He is a .336 hitter against St. Louis. ... Aledmys Diaz had a two-run single in the fifth and Stephen Piscotty had RBI singles in the fifth and the ninth. ... Leake, whose ERA climbed to 6.03, has allowed six home runs in 34 1/3 innings. ... Kevin Siegrist (4-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Jaime Garcia (1-2, 3.73 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (1-3, 4.15 ERA), 12:45 p.m. Thursday