Thursday, September 29, 2011
Oh, my!Posted by Greg Simons
Was that the most stunning night of baseball ever, or what?
A two-hit shutout by Chris Carpenter was the boring part as the Cards won, 8-0, and put the pressure on the Braves.
Atlanta was looking good for six innings, building a 3-1 lead. But Philly crept within one in the seventh and plated the tying run in the ninth.
After both pitching staffs held serve through the 12th, the Phils eked a run across on a Hunter Pence infield single, and David Herndon slammed the door on the Braves' season, sending St. Louis to the playoffs.
Things were even more absurd in the American League. As Boston took a 3-2 lead into a seventh-inning rain delay, Tampa Bay was getting blitzed, 7-0, in their rain delay-proof dome. Then the bottom of the eighth happened.
In an inning bookended by Johnny Damon at-bats, the Rays exploded while the Yankees pitchers imploded, and six runs were scored. That still left Tampa Bay a run short, though.
No problem, as Dan Johnson came in to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. Down to his last strike, he launched a ball over the fence and knotted things up at seven runs apiece.
In the bottom of the twelfth, Evan Longoria—who had a three-run homer in that crucial eighth frame—ended things with a walkoff shot.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth to finish off the Orioles. Things looked good as the first two batters went down swinging. But then Chris Davis doubled, and so did Nolan Reimold to tie the score, 3-3. Robert Andino—he of the inside-the-park homer the night before—singled in Reimond to put an end to the Red Sox's season.
A shutout, three comebacks, two extra-inning games and two walk-off hits. That last sentence oozes excitement, but it doesn't come close to capturing the sheer magnificent insanity of the evening. If the postseason offers anything close to Wednesday night's action, baseball fans the world over are in for quite a treat.
Greg Simons finally, sadly has conceded that he won't have an MLB playing career. However, in his dreams, he's still the second coming of Ozzie Smith. Please don't wake him up, though you can e-mail him at gregbsimons AT yahoo DOT com.