ST. LOUIS – The Philadelphia Phillies stun the St. Louis Cardinals in a matter of 34 hours, winning back-to-back games in the National League Wild Card Series to end the Cardinals’ 2022 season.

The loss not only eliminates the Cardinals from postseason, but marks a solemn and abrupt end to the storied careers of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. Both are now looking ahead to retirement after two World Series championships and record-breaking feats over 41 combined seasons.

“It’s tough when you know it’s Yadi’s last year and Albert’s last year,” said Cardinals first-year manager Oliver Marmol. “There’s just extra motivation to deliver for them, and do something special, and allow that story to end with a championship. … We just couldn’t get anything going.”

The Wild Card Series unfolded, in large part, without the Cardinals being able to pick up big hits. St. Louis was limited to 12 hits over Friday’s and Saturday’s losses and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Two-time National League MVP Bryce Harper capitalized early in Game 2, turning on a first-pitch curveball in the second inning to help the Phillies jump to a 1-0 lead. Harper blasted the Phillies’ first and only home run of the series.

Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas limited the damage, striking out three and holding the Phillies to just two runs over 4.1 innings.

“That’s the nature of the beast, it’s a long season until it’s not,” Mikolas said on the two-game series exit. “We just kind of ran into that today.”

Jordan Montgomery, used primarily as a starter since joining the Cardinals at the trade deadline, followed up with 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. Giovanny Gallegos and Jordan Hicks also tossed scoreless innings behind him.

Philadelphia added on their only other run of Game 2 from a Kyle Schwarber sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. It gave them a 2-0 lead, one they would not relinquish despite a few late-game threats.

On two occasions, in the sixth and eighth innings, Pujols singled before an inning ended with back-to-back strikeouts of MVP hopefuls Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. The corner infielders struggled in the short series, going just 1-for-15 with six strikeouts.

“It really stinks. It’s 100% on me,” said Goldschmidt. “I couldn’t do my job, and it stinks. Obviously, I can’t change it. So take that and have to go forward and try to do better next time.”

“We thought we’re going to come out with a series win. We felt confident coming into today. We ran into [Phillies’ starter Aaron] Nola, and he pitched a great game, but it sucks to lose like that, especially when you have opportunities to get guys in.”

Corey Dickerson and Yadier Molina picked up two-out hits in the ninth inning before the Phillies retired Tommy Edman on a pop-up in foul territory to secure the series.

Returning to the postseason stage for the first time since 2011, Philadelphia got revenge on a Cardinals team that last eliminated them from the dance that year. As for the Cardinals, it was their first time being swept in a multi-game round to open postseason since 2009.

“We’re disappointed. Anything short of a World Series is going to be a disappointment for us,” said Cardinals’ first-year manager Oli Marmol.

Three of four MLB Wild Card Series this weekend, including the Cardinals-Phillies clash, resulted in one opponent being swept out of the postseason. The Phillies advance to face the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series next week.