(BaseballStL) — In a night where Busch stadium felt more like offensive purgatory than baseball heaven, Matt Adams once again led his team to promised land.
Having been the only flash of life for much of Sunday’s game, the big first baseman reprised his performance against the Pirates, picking up two of the three hits for the Birds all game.
As the Pirates scattered eight hits and stranded 12, the Cardinals managed just two in eight innings.
Then came the ninth.
Matt Carpenter led off with his third walk in a row, and Matt Holliday followed with a fly ball to right. Adams was the Birds’ best shot at heroics. On the second pitch of the at bat, he delivered.
“As soon as I made contact with it I knew it was gone,” the lefty said afterward. “I had to make sure I didn’t hook it too much, but it felt good off the bat.”
Adams put his fist in the air the second he let go of the bat, and started to trot. The fans that remained after two rain delays unleashed two and a half hours of pent up enthusiasm, and the Cardinal dugout went bananas.
“That’s what we were hoping for. That’s a play we put on so it worked out really well,” Mike Matheny said with a smile. He missed Adams’ uncharacteristic exuberance, however.
“I was too busy watching the ball making sure it didn’t hit a bird and land in right field or something,” he said, having seen several liners find their way to Pittsburgh gloves already.
This one would land safely in the stands, and mark the first walk off home run for Adams at any level. Standing at his locker, the usually stoic Pennsylvania native was beaming.
“This is unbelievable. I don’t even know what to say,” he smiled.
It was his 10th homer of the season, and pushed his batting average over .330. It also marked the first regular season walk off home run for St. Louis since Skip Schumaker hit one against the Royals on June 19, 2011.
With better-than-average defense and an offensive line worthy of All Star consideration, Adams has quickly made a name for himself in already first baseman-rich National League. His plate discipline has helped him consistently exploit the shift employed against him, making him a devastatingly effective lineup presence.
Still, for all his success this season, Monday’s trot around the bases may be the most memorable moment of 2014 for the 25-year old.
“I don’t think I touched the dirt the whole way around,” he said.