Cardinals Devil Magic is back.
After trailing the Braves 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cardinals rallied for runs in the eighth and tenth to complete a thrilling come-from-behind 5-4 win Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
The early scoring for the Cardinals came courtesy of the long ball. Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna homered back-to-back in the first inning, and Ozuna added another home run of his own in his next at-bat in the fourth.
Those big blasts pushed the Cardinals to a 3-1 lead, before the Braves did the bulk of their damage in the fifth. A Matt Carpenter error at third base in that inning gave Atlanta an extra out which which to work. While one run scored on the Carpenter misplay, two more were tallied on a two-out home run by Ozzie Albies to chase Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson from the game.
Though St. Louis ended up with a respectable five runs, the Cardinals offense was stone silent for the majority of the game. That is, until Goldschmidt fought off a tough pitch to drop an opposite field double down the left field line in the eighth. Yadier Molina then delivered a clutch single to score Goldschmidt, tying the game at 4-4 later that inning. The softly hit blooper scraped the tip of Freddie Freeman's glove at first base before falling into shallow right field.
After allowing a lead-off double to Ronald Acuna Jr., Carlos Martinez pitched a clean rest of the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a chance to walk it off. Though Tommy Edman made it as far as second base in the bottom half, the Cardinals could not bring him around to score.
That just meant they would need to work some more magic in extra innings.
Following a clean top of the tenth by Miles Mikolas, Kolten Wong led off the bottom half with a ground-rule double to left. The Braves walked Goldschmidt to pitch to Ozuna, who narrowly beat out a possible double play ball to set up first and third for Yadier Molina. The hero from the eighth became the hero in the tenth, as Molina lofted a sacrifice fly deep enough to left field to score a joyous Wong with ease.
Yadier Molina coming through in the clutch. Who would have guessed it?
"I started in '04 in this organization," Mike Shildt said. "Yadi's first year. And clearly was watching the playoffs. I just always appreciated how he competes and how he plays. And then you watch -- and Tony told me this, I didn't necessarily need it, but the confirmation of just how special he is -- and I won't share the specific quote or comments. But he's, like, man, he only swells up when it matters the most...
"It's what this guy lives for, you know? This is exactly what Yadier Molina lives for, this is what he trains for. Clearly he's going to have a lot of personal accomplishments, rightfully so. I'm sure they mean something to him. Yadier Molina is about winning and winning championships, period. Special."
The Cardinals will now return to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday, with ace Jack Flaherty slated to pitch.
Isn't October fun?