(BaseballStL) -- Shane Robinson was told early Friday that he would be starting in center field but when he came to the plate in the third inning of Game 6, he looked like he'd been ready his whole life.
Robinson got the nod over Jon Jay, and had already notched a single in the second inning; but this was perhaps the biggest at bat of the game. His Game 4 heroics still in their minds, more than 46,000 fans were roaring as he stepped into the box.
The fervor began when Matt Carpenter turned an 11-pitch at bat into a one-out double. Carlos Beltran sent Busch into a frenzy when he singled the Cardinal leadoff man home, breaking the deadlock. After advancing to second on Yasiel Puig's throw, Beltran crossed the plate himself when Yadier Molina took a ball up the middle with two outs.
The Cardinals weren't done, as David Freese singled and Matt Adams drew a walk to join Molina on the bases and bring Robinson to the dish.
The diminutive outfielder strode toward the plate, and not a single seat was occupied. Two runs was nice, but the Cardinal faithful could smell blood in the water. They pounded seats, clapped hands and screamed throats raw. They wanted more. Robinson obliged them.
On a 0-1 count, he shot a fastball into right field, scoring Molina and Freese. Puig's throw sailed wide, moving Robinson and Adams to second and third.
The sound inside Busch was deafening, and for a moment a 5-foot-9 utility player was the biggest man in town.
Just a few years ago, such a moment seemed far-fetched for Robinson. In 2011, he suffered a major injury when he collided with a fellow outfielder in a AAA game. He would miss the remainder of the season with a broken facial bone along with a broken finger.
After having missed the previous season due to injury, Robinson's baseball future looked bleak.
"I had a few years on the disabled list where I wasn't sure of what was going to happen with my career and things like that," he said. "But I think it was more of a humbling experience than anything, just kind of knocking me down a few notches and making me realize that nothing is guaranteed in this game and to be thankful for every day I get to play it."
If injuries serve as a reminder to stay grounded, then Friday night will remind Robinson just how high he can soar.
The Cardinals plated nine runners in Game 6, but it was Robinson's two RBIs that broke the game open. With one swing of the bat, the 28-year-old claimed the contest for the Birds, and puncuated a return years in the making.
“It’s an honor and I’m glad they stuck with me. I knew with the injuries it kind of looked like it’d be the end. I’m just fortunate enough that the guys believed in me," he said. "I worked really hard to get here and I had a lot of support from a lot of guys in the organization and my family. You can’t ask for more.”
No one would blame Robinson if he asked for a little more. After all, he's earned it.