It was an incredible night in Major League Baseball overall one year ago, Sept. 28, 2011, with the outcome of two National League and two American League games affecting in dramatic fashion what teams would play in October. One of those games, of course, was the St. Louis Cardinals against the Houston Astros.
And it was the apex of the Cardinals “September to remember.”
The Cardinals entered the game tied with the Atlanta Braves for the National League wild card lead — and they were determined to keep winning.
They took command from the very beginning, with five straight hits to open the game. Albert drove in the first run for RBI No.99, and the scoring continued until Nick Punto drove in run No. 5. Chris Carpenter came to bat before even taking the pitchers mound — always a good sign.
And CC was determined. He was the pitcher we all wanted out there in a must-win game, and he showed exactly why. A complete game shutout, only two singles allowed, 11 strikeouts, 106 pitches — aces do what aces do. He even drove in the Cards’ 7th run of the night, just for fun. (Final score was 8-0.)
Then, of course, the Cardinals watched the Phillies and Braves just like the rest of us did.
Once that was over, with the Phillies beating the Braves in extra innings, there was this.
Champagne celebration number one for the team, as the comeback from 10 1/2 back in the wild card standings was complete.
Of course we had no idea what still was ahead, although by that point we could at least dream a little:
And with the way these past five weeks have gone, there’s really no telling just where the story of the 2011 Cardinals is going to end.
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.