ST. LOUIS — For the second game in a row, the Phillies got an outstanding performance from their starting pitcher and the offense put up a big inning. The result was a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon. The Phils took two of three from the 21-win Cardinals. The victory improved the Phillies to 21-15. They lead the NL East.
Jerad Eickhoff followed Aaron Nola’s lead from the night before and delivered the best start of his career with eight shutout innings. Nola pitched six innings of one-run ball in Tuesday night’s 11-1 win.
Cesar Hernandez batted leadoff as Andrew McCutchen got a rest. Hernandez had a single, double and homer and drove in three runs.
• Eickhoff was brilliant.
• Phillies hitters put together some excellent at-bats in making Cardinals’ starter Jack Flaherty throw 43 pitches in the fifth inning. That grinding approach, plus a Cardinals’ error and RBI doubles by Hernandez and Odubel Herrera helped the Phils score four runs. The Phils sent 10 men to the plate in that inning and drew three walks. Bryce Harper did not have a hit in the inning, but made Flaherty throw 10 pitches while drawing a walk.
• Scott Kingery is making progress in recovering from a hamstring strain and there’s a lot of sentiment for him to get a look at second base when he returns in the near future. Hernandez is hitting like a guy who does not intend to give up his job. Over his last 26 games, he is hitting .357 (35 for 98) with eight doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs to raise his average to .305.
The hard-working right-hander gave up just one hit over his first seven innings en route to eight innings of three-hit ball. He walked three and struck out three. He threw an economical 106 pitches.
Over his last three starts, Eickhoff has pitched 20 innings and allowed just one run to lower his ERA to 1.50 in four starts this season. Eickhoff’s curveball and slider have been excellent complements to a well-spotted fastball that tops out at about 91 mph. In an era of power-armed throwing, this guy is pitching.
Phillies starting pitchers gave up just one run in 14 innings over the last two games of the series.
Over the 13 last games, Phillies starters have a 2.42 ERA. The Phils are 9-4 over that span.
Sights and sounds
The Cardinals honored the memory of David Montgomery with a moment of silence before the game. The beloved former Phillies team president died after a long fight with cancer on Wednesday morning.
The Phillies are off Thursday. They open a three-game interleague series in Kansas City against the Royals on Friday night. Jake Arrieta (4-2, 3.40) opposes Homer Bailey (3-3, 5.25) in the opener.
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