It’s amazing what one ninth inning home run can do.
On Friday a two-out, two-strike home run by the Cubs Darwin Barney crushed Cardinals fans everywhere (and cost Chris Carpenter his deserved win).
When David DeJesus hit a walk-off single two innings later that made it 5-4, a Cubs victory had unfortunately by that point seemed a foregone conclusion. (At least that was the case for those of us sitting in the cold and rain at Wrigley Field — just not good karma after that ninth inning heartbreak, with the dread of having to hear the immediate blasting of the awful “Go Cubs Go” whenever we were crushed for good.)
Yesterday, things were looking bleak for the Cardinals again at Wrigley Field despite the abundant sunshine. There was one out in the top of the ninth and the Cardinals were trailing 4-3 in another frustrating game — they once again couldn’t hit with runners on base and had struck out 11 times.
Then Carlos Beltran crushed a baseball in this manner — and crushed the Cubs fans’ spirits.
Giddiness abounded with Beltran’s blast, as Adam Wainwright demonstrated: “I kissed him right on the cheek. I’m not afraid to tell the whole world, either,” Wainwright said. ”I wanted to kiss him on the mouth.”
Hopefully Jon Jay received similar affection in the 10th inning. After back-to-back walks to Matt Carpenter and Bryan Anderson, Jay hit it down the right field line for a double that scored Carpenter and put the Cardinals up 5-4. Jason Motte came in for the bottom of the 10th and struck out three Cubs who’ve all hurt the Cards at some point this season: Barney, Anthony Rizzo and Bryan LaHair.
And that was a winner!
It was a winner that helped the Cardinals spot in the wild card standings as well — the Brewers and Dodgers both lost, putting them 2 1/2 and 3 back respectively while also knocking another game off the schedule.
Today the Cardinals look to take the series from the Cubs — if it takes another 5-4 extra inning game to do it, that’s fine, but a nice 10-0 victory would be a terrific change of pace. Yadier Molina likely won’t be in the game, but the fact he left the game during his ninth inning at-bat with back spasms seems much better than any alternatives.
Game time is 1:20 p.m. with Kyle Lohse and Justin Germano pitching. Another St. Louis-Chicago sports battle will be under way at the same time, as the Rams take on the Bears at Soldier Field starting at noon.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.