PHOENIX (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are in a heated pennant race.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are baseball's worst, and their manager just got fired.
But hours after Kirk Gibson lost his job, the Diamondbacks gave the Cardinals a big scare in a 7-6, 10-inning loss on Friday night.
"We gave them a nice little run tonight," said bench coach Alan Trammell, who will manage the Diamondbacks over the weekend. "We're just again, probably a broken record, a little short. Give our guys a lot of credit for battling."
Arizona tied it with a three-run eighth inning off Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek, normally one of the game's best but shaky a bit recently.
Marco Gonzales pitched a scoreless ninth for St. Louis, then the Cardinals scored in a hurry in the 10th. Matt Adams doubled, and Jhonny Peralta singled sharply to center to bring him home.
"That's a big win," said reliever Pat Neshek. "That's a huge, huge win, and tomorrow I think it's going to really carry over."
With Pittsburgh winning at Cincinnati 3-1, the Cardinals remain a game up on the Pirates atop the NL Central, with two to play.
Arizona's Miguel Montero said he was sorry to see Gibson go.
"We understand it is part of the business, but unfortunately he has to pay for it," Montero said. "Today was him, tomorrow it could be any of us. I have been in the game long enough to understand. After what happened, we had to settle in and play the game."
Neshek, superb all season but struggling some recently, gave up five hits. Two of them were bloop singles. The second of them, by Didi Gregorius, brought in two runs.
"It seemed like everything was just out of reach," Neshek said.
Ender Inciarte followed with a sharp hit to left that, to the good fortune of the Cardinals, bounced into the seats for an RBI ground-rule double. Gregorius, who had crossed the plate with what would have been the go-ahead run, had to go back to third.
Peralta also had a two-run double in a game St. Louis led 6-3 going into the eighth.
Evan Marshall (4-4) took the loss.
Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect 10th for his 45th save in 51 opportunities.
St. Louis was trailing 2-1 in the sixth inning when Peralta launched a bases-loaded double over the head of A.J. Pollock in deep center, bringing in two runs. Yadier Molina followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 4-2. The Cardinals added two more in the seventh
Michael Wacha got no decision after leaving with a 4-2 lead in the sixth. He retired 10 in a row before Mark Trumbo's leadoff single ended his night in the sixth.
The Arizona rally prevented starter Trevor Cahill from getting his 13th loss.
Cardinals: Wacha pitched 4 2-3 innings in his previous start after skipping an outing for rest and work on his conditioning following his long stay on the DL. He missed 68 games due to a stress reaction in his right shoulder.
Diamondbacks: INF Chris Owings was a late scratch as a precautionary measure due to a sore left shoulder. ... Arizona is finishing the season with five on the DL, four due to Tommy John surgery — Bronson Arroyo, Patrick Corbin, David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (15-10) makes his team-leading 33rd start of the season with the Cardinals needing a victory to clinch at least a tie for first in the division. Lynn is one shy of 50 career wins.
Diamondbacks: LHP Wade Miley (8-12) needs 3 2-3 innings to become the second left-hander to pitch at least 200 innings in consecutive seasons. Randy Johnson did it for four consecutive years.
FIRED BUT STILL HERE
Sometimes fired doesn't mean fired right this minute.
Trammell was fired along with Gibson. But Trammell is still working. He agreed to manage the Diamondbacks' final three games.
"I will finish things thing up and then I will be on my way," he said. "Then you will probably see me somewhere else, who knows?"
Kevin Towers is still in the organization three weeks after being dismissed as general manager.
With the loss, the Diamondbacks (63-97) have dropped eight of nine and are guaranteed to finish the season with the worst record in the majors, and the first pick in next year's draft.
The Cardinals were not swept in a series all season.