St Louis Cardinals were given the test of champions in the postseason and won 5-4 to level the NLCS 1-1 against San Francisco Giants.
Picture the scene: Sunday night in front of a packed Busch Stadium in October, your early game lead has been eaten away and the Giants level the score on their final strike from a wild Trevor Rosenthal pitch.
The San Francisco team looked rejuvenated with momentum swinging their way. They knew if they could take a 2-0 lead back to the AT&T Park it would become a near-impossible task for the Cardinals to turn the series around.
Keeping in contention
According to MLB.com, it has been 29 years since a club came back from a 0-2 NLCS deficit. Coincidently it was the Cardinals.
Up stepped Kolten Wong. The 24-year-old from Hawaii belted a walk-off home run and made a little footnote in history.
He became the fourth Cardinal of all-time to smash a walk-off homer in the postseason and in a game which could prove vital in the St Louis season.
The second baseman is still a rookie in many people's eyes. He is playing in his first full season in MLB after being drafted by St Louis as a first round pick (22nd overall) in 2011. Wong made his big league debut in August 2013 and it was his first career run against the Giants, one he will never forget.
“To do this at this stage, it’s unbelievable,” Wong said after the game to MLB.com.
Wong better start believing. Last night’s tussle was a contest where if they did lose it would have been detrimental but the Cards have pulled out their best work at the most difficult moments. It was their 35th one-run win of the season.
Carrying on in style
It has been the team's style all season to play hard and tight games. Game 2's 5-4 victory was just the second time they had scored four home runs in a single competitive game this year.
According to MLB.com, St Louis scored the fewest home runs during the regular season of any National League outfit. But that stat is slightly meaningless now as no club (American or National League) has hit more homers than the Cards in October.
If the Cardinals had stepped on the plane to California 0-2 down team morale would've been at an all-time low and a few wounds would be feeling a lot worse.
Now with the NLCS all-square most aches and pains being forgotten – minus Yadier Molina who has a strained oblique after limping out in the sixth inning.
St Louis leave home with one important thing learnt: they know how to grab those must-wins and make every hit count. Stuff like that makes champions.
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