Juan Yepez hits a home run in the NL Wild Card Game 1

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ST. LOUIS — Ahead of Friday’s Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol spoke at length about how several players on his roster have helped carry the team for long stretches this season.

One of those players was rookie Juan Yepez, who started strong early in his rookie season and was added late to the playoff roster due to the big pop in his bat.

Yepez — one of 11 Cardinals rookies to make his MLB debut this season — hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie and give St. Louis a 2-0 lead over the Phillies in Game 1. The Yepez home run was the first home run in Cardinals playoff history. That wasn’t enough, however, as the Phillies rallied for six runs in the ninth inning to claim a 6-3 win.

Veteran left-handed hitter Corey Dickerson was called back to the dugout by Marmol so Yepez could pinch against Phillies left-hander José Alvarado. Yepez holed a 363-foot homer on the left-field line that stayed just inside the foul post for the biggest hit of his young career.

Yepez, a native of Venezuela who spent seven years in the minor leagues working his way to the majors, hit 12 homers and had 30 runs in his rookie season with the Cardinals.

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