PHILADELPHIA •It was a night when Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras, who was benched a couple of days for inattentive and indifferent baserunning, toured the bases like Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith rolled into one.
It was a night when the Cardinals' bullpen was both awful and stunning in the same inning and then just as good for the next hour and a half. And it was a night when Philadelphia center fielder Ben Revere k icked a ball over the wall, costing the Cardinals a potential triple by Kolten Wong.
In the end, it was a night when the Cardinals finally nudged across a run in the 12th inning and Matt Holliday made a dazzling running catch in the bottom half to preserve a 6-5 win that moved them one-half game off the Milwaukee Brewers' lead in the National League Central Division race.
Trevor Rosenthal, though committing an error in the 12th — he didn't walk anybody — gained his 38th save.
The Cardinals had the better chances all night but cashed in the last one in the 12th, sparked by another pinch hit walk from Daniel Descalso, who has had three in his last nine plate appearances as a pinch hitter. Jon Jay sacrificed and Peter Bourjos, who was deprived of an infield hit on a challenged call in the 10th, beat out another high hopper to short without a throw.
Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly to left scored Descalso and made a winner out of Seth Maness, who pitched brilliantly out of the bullpen, as did Sam Freeman and, especially Pat Neshek after Randy Choate had encountered turbulence in the eighth when the Phillies tied the score at 5-5.
Cards miss chance in 11th
The Cardinals, who had the better of the scoring chances all night against the Philadelphia Phillies, lost out on yet another one in the 11th inning tonight.
Matt Holliday walked with one out and Matt Adams, who had left three runners in scoring position during the game, blooped a single just ouf the reach of backpedaling second baseman Freddy Galvis.
The runners moved up on a wild pitch by righthander Ken Giles, who had replaced leftander Jake Diekman. Giles threw another ball in the dirt to Jhonny Peralta but catcher Carlos Ruiz recovered in time to keep a hesitant Holliday at third base.
Peralta then walked but A.J Pierzynski bounced into an inning-ending double play.
But righthander Seth Maness, the double play king, got one of his own in the 11th on Grady Sizemore to send the game to the 12th.
Phils, Cards go to extra innings
Lefthander Randy Choate, working a rare second inning for the Cardinals tonight against Philadelphia Phillies order full of lefthanded batters, had no problem in his first inning, the seventh. But Choate got into a whole bunch of trouble in the eighth inning and almost unhittable Pat Neshek couldn't quite rescue him.
Neshek, however, did well enough to limit a bases-loaded, no-out situation bequeathed him by Choate to just two runs as the Phillies tied the score at 5-5 and the game went to extra innings an inning later.
The game still was tied at 5-5 and coming up on four hours when it went to the 11th.
With the Cardinals ahead 5-3 in the eighth, Jimmy Rollins singled and so did Chase Utley, who had been just one for nine against Choate in his career. Though Choate took a glance back at Rollins at second, the two Phillies executed a double steal with catcher A.J.Pierzynski having no chance.
Ryan Howard, who was nothing for eight with four strikeouts against Choate, was hit in the right hip by a 2-2 pitch, loading the bases and forcing manager Mike Matheny to call for Neshek.
Marlon Byrd blooped a two-run single to right center to send home two runners but Neshek stiffened.
Pinch hitter Andres Blanco sacrificed, with Neshek electing not to throw to shortstop Jhonny Peralta covering at third, sensing the reward may not be worth the risk, and taking the out at first instead. Peralta, fielding Carlos Ruiz's grounder, then threw home to get pinch runner Freddy Galvis. Neshek struck out Cody Asche to end the inning.
The Cardinals missed a chance to go ahead in the ninth, which featured a crew chief review that became of no help to the Cardinals.
Facing 31-save closer Jonathan Papelbon, Kolten Wong blasted a ball over the head of center fielder Ben Revere, who then inadvertently kicked the ball over the wall and the play was called a rule-book double.
Matheny, arguing that the speedy Wong might have had a triple and got the umpires to huddle and call New York technology _ the play was not an official challenge _ but Wong wound at second anyway.
Papelbon hit Matt Holliday in the left shoulder with a pitch but struck out both Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta although Wong and Holliday pulled off a double steal as Peralta went down. Pierzynski, however, was thrown out on a good play by second baseman Galvis to end the inning.
Sam Freeman pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cardinals to bring bonus baseball before Matheny would lose a challenge in the 10th when he and first-base coach Chris Maloney thought Peter Bourjos had beaten out a high hopper to shortstop Rollins.
Cards' basernning forces Phillies' errors
Some brilliant baserunning by the Cardinals, which helped force some abhorrent defense by the Philadelphia Phillies, led to a three-run sixth inning that snapped a 2-2 tie tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
A.J. Pierzynski opened the inning with a double to left center off lefthander Mario Hollands, marking only his third extra-base hit out of 18 hits Pierzynski has had for the Cardinals.
Oscar Taveras, playing another strong game, dropped a single in front of left fielder Domonic Brown. Pierzynski was between second and third, pondering his next move, and then took off for third when the ball dropped. A casual, perhaps confused, Brown hesitated before making his move and then fired low and past third baseman Cody Asche of Fort Zumwalt West.
The ball rolled all the way to the backstop behind the plate and not only did Pierzynski score the go-ahead run but Taveras alertly went all the way to third as Hollands, who fielded the ball, declined to risk a throw there.
Jon Jay walked before pitcher Shelby Miller, who leads the Cardinals in sacrifices with seven, executed an excellent safety squeeze down the third-base line. Taveras broke from third after the ball was bunted and when Asche fielded it, he determined he had no chance for Taveras but he one-hopped a throw by second baseman Chase Utley, who was covering at first.
Miller was safe and Jay sprinted all the way from first to score the third run of the inning.
Lafayette High product Ryan Howard got one of those runs back in the sixth for the Phils with his 19th homer, an opposite-field blast to left.
Miller helps himself
Shelby Miller, after allowing Philadelphia two runs in the fourth as he lost a 1-0 lead, started the fifth inning with a single tonight and came around to score the tying run as the Cardinals caught the Phillies at 2-2.
Matt Carpenter, who already had extended his hitting streak to seven games, followed Miller's single with one of his own. Kolten Wong hit a grounder to first baseman Ryan Howard, who couldn't extract the ball from his glove in time to throw to second and barely was ruled to have retired Wong at first as pitcher David Buchanan covered.
Miller and Carpenter both advanced on the play and Matt Holliday's cracked-bat grounder plated Miller.
Matt Adams walked before Jhonny Peralta, who earlier had homered, flied to center.
Ruiz double puts Phils ahead
Cardinals righthander Shelby Miller allowed just an infield hit for the first three innings tonight. But, after permitting a one-out, bloop single to Marlon Byrd in the fourth, Miller was touched for a line single by Domonic Brown and a two-run double to right center Carlos Ruiz, who gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 2-1 lead.
The Cardinals were being stopped again by righthander David Buchanan, who allowed them just one run in 7 2/3 innings when he beat Miller in St. Louis in June. Buchanan was solved for a second-inning homer by Jhonny Peralta but that was all for four innings.
Peralta's long HR gives Cards 1-0 lead
After both teams missed opportunities in the first inning, the Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta started the scoring in the second by rocketing a 2-0 pitch from Philadelphia righthander David Buchanan pitch deep into the left-center-field seats at Citizens Bank Park for his 18th home run of the season. The run batted in was Peralta's 59th.
Oscar Taveras walked with one out in the inning and sped to third on Jon Jay's bouncer through the right side. But pitcher Shelby Miller, the team leader in sacrifices at seven, was not bunting this time. Instead, he hit into a broken-bat, inning-ending double play.
Miller, who passed a season-high six in his last start (two of the walks were intentional), walked one man in each of the first two innings, but escaped without incident.
Wainwright perturbed, but not hurt
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was so out of sorts Friday night that he walked more batters (three) than he struck out (two) for the first time in his 26 starts this season.
Wainwright, who squandered a 3-0 lead in the first inning and lost 5-4 to Philadelphia, called that effort "pathetic.
"It ticks me right off," Wainwright said.
But the small strikeout total on Friday has been emblematic of his last 11 starts in which he has fanned more than five hitters in a game only once.
"I'm not pitching ahead in the count like I normally do," said Wainwright. "I don't have blazing fastballs or electric anything, really. But I pitch ahead in the count very well usually and I get strikeouts that way."
Asked if his arm was as strong and healthy as he would like it to be, Wainwright said, "No. But this is the point of the year when no one's is.
"I suspect it will be soon, though, because you get a second wind. I'm not hurt but I expect I'll get over the hump here shortly."
Shelby Miller, tonight's starter against the Phillies, appeared to have cleared a hump a while back but he's allowed nine runs and allowed eight walks in his last 11 innings over his previous two starts, neither of which he's won.
Miller has had two previous starts against the Phillies, beating them 4-1 in 2013 and losing to them 4-1 this year. This will be the first start at Citizens Bank Park for Miller, who is only 11-10 in 31 previous road starts. A.J. Pierzynski will catch him for the sixth consecutive time since joining the Cardinals.
It has been raining much of the afternoon but the forecast for the rest of the day is good. Temperatures will dip into the mid-60s.