Just two years removed from their World Series victory in 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals caught themselves staring at a 0-9 deficit, an ignonimity that could very well be one of the most ignonimous in the history of baseball's biggest venue.
Will Middlebrooks trips Allen Craig, resulting in a walk-off that won World Series Game 3 for the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4.
Going back to Busch Stadium after salvaging Game Two against the Boston Red Sox, however, the Cardinals put to wast the home advantage the Red Sox enjoyed after the American League won the All-Star Game. With a mammoth crowd of 47,432, the largest ever recorded in St. Louis, the Cardinals started out like a house on fire, hitting two RBI singles to pull ahead in the first inning. Boston would draw even in the sixth inning on an RBI courtesy of Daniel Nava, but the Cardinals' Matt Holiday drove for two. The Red Sox quickly responded with two eighth-inning RBIs that knotted the count at four runs apiece.
What happened in the ninth inning, regardless of the outcome of the series, will be much discussed in decades to come. Catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia successfully tagged a Cardinal, but threw a wild, wide pass to third baseman Will Middlebrooks, with the ball ricocheting down the foul line. Middlebrooks, lying flat on his belly, tripped Allen Craig, who was starting to go for home plate.
Going by the obstruction, the umpire called it a walk-off, in effect declaring it a run for Craig, and the Cardinals won Game 3, 5-4.
With the World Series suddenly 2-1 in favor of the Cardinals, the games are expected to be tighter from this point onward. The Game One rout by the Red Sox is now a mere specter, its impact a distant reminder of Boston Strong.
The pitchers for Game 5, Clay Buchholz and Lance Lynn, are both career pitchers for their respective teams, having won (at least on record) in 2007 and 2011, respectively. Buchholz was twice the AL Pitcher of the Month in 2013. However, his 2007 World Series ring came as he was shut down for shoulder fatigue, which is one monkey he'd like to shake off his back.
Lynn himself was an All-Star in 2012 and had an ERA of 3.97 in 33 games in 2013, winning 15 and losing 10 as a starter. He is known for his 96-mph four-seam fastball and a very deceptive curveball. He is one of the best in terms of striking out opponents, with an average of 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
To contact the editor, e-mail: