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.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.