When you think back to the 2006 NLCS between the Cardinals and the Mets, chances are you recall Game Seven. Which makes sense, as it was a tremendous and intense game — to stroll down memory lane: the Mets took a 1-0 first inning lead, the Cardinals tied it in the second, the score remained 1-1 until the ninth inning although the Cards would have taken the lead if not for Endy Chavez catching Scott Rolen’s homer. The ninth inning was epic just in itself as Yadi homered after Rolen singled to definitely put the Cards on top 3-1, then rookie closer Adam Wainwright gave up two singles and a two-out walk to load the bases before Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate and Waiwright threw just three more pitches …
Game Seven’s majesty wouldn’t have happened, however, without So Taguchi’s heroics six days earlier in Game Two at Shea Stadium.
After winning Game One, the Mets took a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to a rough night from Chris Carpenter — he gave up five earned runs and walked four in five innings pitched. The Mets led 6-4 in the seventh inning and David Eckstein and Chris Duncan quickly grounded out and flied out to start the inning. That Guy Who Used to Play First Base then singled and Jim Edmonds walked, bringing up Scott Spiezio and his little red facial hair thing — starting at third base for the game instead of Scott Rolen. The Speez launched it very deep to right, off the top of the wall, and ended up at third with a game-tying triple.
The game remained tied 6-6 until Taguchi, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Duncan in the eighth, stepped to the plate. He was facing Mets closer Billy Wagner, who had 40 saves during the 2006 regular season. And Taguchi had two homers during 2006 (although he hit one in Game Three of the 2006 NLDS, his only at-bat of that postseason thus far). The count went full. And then …
You can read the description of it from Jayson Stark of ESPN — which begins “These are the October moments that live forever. You see them happen. Thousands of witnesses can testify they happened. History will always be there to remind us that they happened. And still you ask yourself: Did that really happen?”
And you can watch So’s magic moment, and then the rest of the ninth inning as well — That Guy and Spiezio both doubled, Juan Encarnacion singled and the Cards scored two more runs in the top; Tyler Johnson (remember him?) and Wainwright retire the Mets 1-2-3 to close it out as the Cards tie the series 1-1.
(Yes, there is a Ronnie Belliard at bat too. Remember him — and his amazing defensive play in the NLDS?)
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like us on Facebook if you don’t already.