PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Odubel Herrera smiled when told he was being compared to Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero. He has potential to be known by his first name just like Ichiro and Vlad, too.
Herrera hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the seventh inning, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Wednesday to win their third straight series.
“What he’s doing is special,” manager Gabe Kapler said, adding that Herrera reminds him of Suzuki. “It’s elite.”
Herrera is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and eight RBI in the last seven games.
“He’s a different breed,” starter Jake Arrieta said before mentioning Guerrero’s name with Herrera. “When he gets hot, he’s fun to watch.”
Herrera had a tough stretch after an excellent start before finding his stroke again.
“It’s very satisfying to be compared to two legends,” he said.
Yadier Molina hit a pair of homers for the Cardinals, who lost starter Michael Wacha to injury.
Philadelphia’s beleaguered bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Arrieta had another so-so outing, giving up both of Molina’s homers. Edubray Ramos (2-0) got five outs and Adam Morgan retired the last two batters with the tying run on second for his first career save.
“It was cool to go out there and succeed,” Morgan said.
The Phillies took two of three to win a series against the Cardinals for the first time since August 2014.
Arrieta gave up three runs and four hits in six innings to remain winless in June after posting a 0.90 ERA in five starts in May. Arrieta, who is earning $30 million this season as part of a three-year, $75 million contract, has a 6.97 ERA in four starts this month.
Wacha left in the fourth with a left oblique strain. The right-hander allowed three runs — one earned — and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He’ll have an MRI on Thursday.
“Feeling a little bit better,” Wacha said. “I’m hoping for the best.”
Herrera ripped a 91 mph slider from Sam Tuivailala (1-3) off the scoreboard on the facing of the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Herrera has a homer in four straight games.
Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a one-out double off Victor Arano in the ninth. Morgan entered to get Matt Carpenter on a foul pop and Tommy Pham on a grounder.
Molina drove a 3-2 pitch the opposite-way into the seats in right-center for his fifth career multihomer game in the sixth to tie it at 3.
A throwing error by Carpenter led to a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. Jorge Alfaro reached with one out when Carpenter’s throw pulled first baseman Jose Martinez off the bag. With two outs, Hernandez lined a 1-2 change-up to the seats in right for a 3-1 lead.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first after Rhys Hoskins hit a single, advanced to third on Herrera’s double and scored on Carlos Santana’s sacrifice fly.
Molina crushed Arrieta’s first pitch in the second inning to left to tie it at 1.
Wacha worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third by striking out Scott Kingery and retiring Nick Williams on a bouncer.
Seven of Herrera’s 12 homers have given Philadelphia a lead.
PHILLIES: INF J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list after breaking his hand Tuesday night. INF Mitch Walding was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace him. … Williams returned to the lineup after he broke his nose in the field on Monday night.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the start of a four-game set at Milwaukee. He’s 6-4, 1.95 vs. the Brewers.
Phillies: After a day off, RHP Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.43 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Friday night. Eflin has never faced the Nationals.