The Phillies handled the Cardinals with a decisive 11-6 victory in Game 1 of the NLDS Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. But not before veteran slugger Lance Berkman gave St. Louis an early 3-0 lead with a first-inning three-run homer to deep right field.
That shot seemed to stun the fans in the stadium, who were expecting Roy Halladay to dominate throughout. Then Ryan Howard answered with his own three-run blast, Raul Ibanez slugged a two-run homer, and the atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park quickly changed from hushed to hysterical.
Berkman caught the brunt of that collective enthusiasm in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the Phillies continuing to pour on runs, fans in the outfield stands began slowly chanting, “Berk-man, Berk-man.”
And here’s Lance’s response, via Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“They were chanting my name,” Berkman told reporters, “but I don’t know why. My name is on the back of my uniform. So it’s nice to know they can read.”
The Phillies lead the five-game series 1-0. Game 2 will get underway Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.