ST. LOUIS – It took eleven years and one day, to be exact, but Saturday night in the shadows of the Gateway Arch, the Philadelphia Phillies finally got their sweet revenge.
The Phillies, whose rights were thrown into disarray by their shocking defeat in the 2011 NL Division Series, banished their ghosts by beating St. a reduced sellout crowd of 48,515 at Busch Stadium.
Yes, the same team that destroyed their baseball dreams 11 years ago, will now be sitting at home all winter with the same pain.
The Cardinals’ season is over.
So did the incredible careers of future Hall of Famers Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina.
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The Phillies are moving on, and will open the NL Division Series Tuesday against Atlanta, the defending World Series champions, with a bye for the Cardinals.
“You’re big, you look at Albert,” says Bryce Harper, who sat out his first game Saturday. “You looked at Yadi. [Pitcher Adam] Wainwright too. These guys you grew up watching, and now they’re on their way out, and that’s a bit sad about the game, right?
It was nice for the Phillies to get a little emotional, play on the field, spray champagne in the clubhouse, and bathe their lifestyle.
They’ve suffered long enough, with the longest drought in the National League, reliving the gruesome streak and epic Game 5 against the Cardinals long enough.
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What is known now is that the Phillies ended the Cardinals’ season prematurely, returning the favor they had earned.
Now, the Cardinals are left with that same feeling, believing they will have a long run, with Pujols going to the World Series for the last time, only to have their season end in disappointment.
The lasting memory will not be of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado having MVP seasons.
It will be two power hitters that disappear in two-game series, going 1-for-15 with six strikeouts.
In the Cardinals’ final game in the eighth inning, Pujols hit a single in his final at-bat, had runners on first and second with one out, and Goldschmidt and Arenado coming to the plate.
Then they went down gently at the ninth hour, and looked, and the Philistines were rejoicing in the field before them.
Phillies ace Aaron Nola smothered the entire Cardinals lineup, giving up just four hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings, and their bullpen did the rest, completing their shutout.
“It’s great to be back, especially with the Phillies and this organization,” said Harper, who had his first homer in 48 innings. It’s good for the fans, it’s good for the city of Philadelphia.
“We are back.”
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