Red October Begins As The St. Louis Cardinals Win One WILD Wild Card Game
I almost missed what would turn out to be one of the most unusual Wild Card games in Atlanta Friday night. Okay, I only missed the top of the 1st, but I NEVER miss a St. Louis Cardinals game. Tonight's one-game playoff was highlighted what would be Braves' super star Chipper Jones' last game and I'm glad he got to play at home one more time.
However, the Cardinals 6-3 victory over the Braves was marred by two questionable calls. And each call would benefit either team. The first bad call would benefit the Braves in the bottom of the 2nd as Kyle Loshe thought he struck out veteran David Ross only to have home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg got a split second time call from Ross as he swung at strike three. Next pitch? Ross launched a 2-run homer into left center giving the Braves their only lead of the night at 2-0. I grumbled, but the game had to go on.
The Cardinals got the lead at 6-3, when in the bottom of eighth, it was their turn to benefit from probably a worse call. With runners in scoring position, Andrelton Simmons hit a ball to what I would call shallow left, LF Matt Holliday ran in for a chance at it, while Cardinals SS Pete Kozma also went to catch it, but dropped out when the hit was declared an out under the "infield fly" rule. I'm sorry, but that hit did NOT have a chance to even land close to the infield. As Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez angrily argued with left field umpire Sam Holbrook, Braves' fans began to barrage the outfield with bottles and trash in protest of the lousy call. The game was halted for nearly 20 minutes as the ground crew quickly scattered to gather up the prematurely disposed garbage.
As fate would have it, when the Braves came down to their last out in the bottom of the 9th, who else but Chipper Jones stepped to the plate in what would be his final at-bat. And, he broke his bat and got an infield hit when Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter was pulled off base by a short throw. However, the Cardinals were able to get the win when Dan Uggla grounded out to second.
The Cardinals will now face the NL East Division champs the Washington Nationals, who amassed the best record in the league this season, on Sunday at Busch Stadium.
I hope the Division series isn't as controversial. GO CARDS!