PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Zack Wheeler struck out 10 while pitching into the eighth inning, and Bryson Stott, Nick Castellanos and Brandon Marsh all went deep as the Philadelphia Phillies set a club record for home runs in a month and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 12-1 on Saturday night.
Bryce Harper doubled among his three hits and drove in two runs for the defending NL champion Phillies, who are in first place in the wild-card standings. Philadelphia’s 48 home runs in August topped the 46 they hit in September 2019.
“Maybe one of the most complete games we’ve had all year,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.
Wheeler (10-6) allowed just one run and three hits and walked none. He reached double-digit strikeouts for the 20th time in his career and fourth this season.
“He was electric tonight,” Thomson said. “He was as good as you can be.”
Wheeler finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2021 and could make a late push to be a contender this season.
Wheeler made a mechanical adjustment to his leg lift prior to his last start, and it has helped to increase his velocity while maintaining his control.
“Fastball was working well and the command was there,” Wheeler said.
He was in a groove before a lengthy layoff as Philadelphia scored seven runs in the seventh. Thomson lifted the right-hander after he gave up Tyler O’Neill’s single leading off the eighth.
Luken Baker homered for St. Louis, which has lost eight of 10.
Wheeler struck out six of the first seven Cardinals before Baker’s drive to left field in the third put St. Louis ahead 1-0. It was the first career home run for Baker, who was leading all of minor league baseball with 33 homers when he was promoted from Triple-A Memphis on Aug. 12.
Wheeler was masterful the rest of the way, allowing only Tommy Edman’s infield single later in the third before O’Neill’s hit.
“He pitched his butt off,” Marsh said. “The dude is a workhorse. You know what you are going to get out of him.”
The Phillies went ahead with two runs in the bottom of the third against Dakota Hudson (5-1), including the first of Harper’s two RBI singles that made it 2-1. Stott led off the fourth with his 13th homer to tie the franchise mark for homers in a month.
Hudson gave up five runs and six hits with five walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“Just in and out of the zone; he has to be in the zone,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “That hurt him.”
Philadelphia scored seven runs on six hits in the seventh, including three-run homers by Castellanos and Marsh.
Stott won a pregame closest-to-the pin contest to gain first choice of pick in the club’s fantasy football draft. The Phillies set up a turf mat at home plate and put a golf flag in center field.