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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Altherr got his first lucky break in a while.
Left fielder Marcell Ozuna dived for and missed Altherr’s two-run double with two outs in the 10th inning, allowing the Philadelphia Phillies to rally for a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
Altherr had been hitless in his last 12 at-bats and 1 for 20 before the hit.
“The way things have been going, I thought he was going to catch it,” Altherr said. “Thankfully he dove for it and it got by.”
Tommy Pham hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th, one inning after a wild pitch on a strikeout kept the game going. But the Phillies rallied.
Rhys Hoskins hit a bloop single to start the bottom of the 10th off Matt Bowman (0-2). Odubel Herrera dived headfirst into first to seemingly beat out an infield single, but the play was overturned by a video review. After Carlos Santana was intentionally walked, Bowman struck out Jesmuel Valentin.
Altherr then hit a sinking liner that appeared to skip off Ozuna’s glove before bouncing to the wall.
“It was so nice to see a ball bounce in his direction,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Altherr.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tried to explain the unusual strategy to put the winning run on base.
“Wanted to avoid their best hitter,” he said of Santana, who is batting .226.
On a day former closer Hector Neris was sent to the minors, Kapler’s aggressive use of the bullpen nearly cost him. Seranthony Dominguez — the team’s best reliever — wasn’t available after pitching 2 1/3 innings in the previous two games. So Kapler turned to Victor Arano and Adam Morgan in the ninth to protect a 4-2 lead. Neither pitcher has ever earned a save.
Yadier Molina hit a one-out single in the ninth off Arano, and Jedd Gyorko followed with a double. Arano struck out Harrison Bader and fanned Yairo Munoz, but Munoz reached when catcher Andrew Knapp failed to block the wild pitch and a run scored.
“I have to make that play. I have to block it,” Knapp said.
Morgan came in and allowed a tying single to Kolten Wong.
Pham hit a deep drive off Jake Thompson (1-1) for his 11th homer.
Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina also hit solo homers for St. Louis.
Herrera hit a three-run homer for Philadelphia.
The Phillies’ bullpen wasted a strong start from Nick Pivetta. He had a career-high 13 strikeouts, allowing two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings in his best outing since May 21. Pivetta lost his previous four starts, posting a 7.11 ERA in those games.
Pivetta left after Carpenter hit a double high off the fence in right to put runners at second and third. Right fielder Nick Williams exited with a bloody face after the ball hit him on the carom.
Edubray Ramos entered and struck out Pham and Jose Martinez swinging at sliders.
The Phillies have won six of eight games while the Cardinals have lost six of eight.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas gave up four runs and six hits in five innings.
The Phillies are 5-1 in extra innings while the Cardinals are 5-6.
Neris was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and lefty Austin Davis was recalled. Neris had a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances, going 1-3 with 10 saves in 13 chances.
CARDINALS: 1B Martinez returned to the lineup after missing three games on paternity leave. 1B Luke Voit was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
PHILLIES: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right hand) is set to throw a bullpen session Tuesday. … Righty reliever Pat Neshek is scheduled to throw live batting practice Wednesday in the minors.
RHP Luke Weaver (3-6, 4.52 ERA) starts for the Cardinals and RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.74) goes for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Weaver has lost both of his career starts vs. Philadelphia. Velasquez is 1-1 vs. St. Louis, including a victory earlier this season.
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)