The St. Louis Cardinals are moving on in the National League playoffs, thanks to a wild 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in the wild-card play-in game Friday.
Everything about this game was wacky, starting with three Braves errors that led to four St. Louis runs, and ending with fan anger over an umpire ruling that cost Atlanta in its bid to rally.
Whatever: The win puts the Cardinals into a best-of-five division series with Washington starting Sunday at Busch Stadium. Times for the two Busch Stadium games: 2:07 p.m. Sunday and 3:37 p.m. Monday, before the series moves to the nation's capital for up to three more contests.
"The experience has helped us, obviously," Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday said on TBS after the game; he had two hits including a home run. "Coming into a game like this, we played most of our last 10 games last year feeling like this. We have experience, and I think it paid off."
The Cards' win Friday had a 19-minute delay when fans threw beer bottles, cans and other debris on the field after left-field umpire Sam Holbrook ruled a Braves batter out on a popup to short left field in the eighth inning.
Holbrook, invoking the infield fly rule, said Andrelton Simmons was out on the play, before Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma failed to make the catch. The ruling, with one out, left the Braves with runners at second and third with two out, instead of the bases loaded and one out.
The Braves announced they were playing the game under protest -- later denied by Major League Baseball. During the delay, Cardinals players took refuge in the dugout or in the middle of the field, far from the projectiles arriving from the stands.
"It was scary," St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said.
Holliday said he wasn't worried about the debris.
"Nay, a bottle wouldn't hurt me," Holliday said on the TBS telecast after the game.
Holbrook figured in another fan fracas at a memorable Cardinals game: Toward the end of the 1998 season, in the midst of the home-run chase, he ejected Mark McGwire from the early going of a Sunday game at Busch Stadium. Boos rained down on the field that day, but not projectiles.
At the time of the fan uproar Friday, the Cardinals were leading 6-3, thanks to several key hits and three Atlanta errors.
The miscues led to two unearned Redbird runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh in the winner-take-all one-game playoff.
Holliday hit a solo homer in the sixth, while the Cardinals got an RBI double from Allen Craig in the fourth and an RBI infield single by Matt Carpenter that scored a runner from second in the seventh.
The Braves, the top fielding team in the National League this year, saw Chipper Jones throw away a double-play grounder in the fourth, then made two throwing errors that led to the two unearned runs in the seventh.
That inning, Dan Uggla threw away David Freese's grounder, and shortstop Andrelton Simmons threw wildly on a play at the plate two batters later, followed by a pinch-hit RBI infield single by Carpenter.
That hit scored Pete Kozma, who had reached on Simmons' error and then raced home from second on the play at first on Carpenter's roller between the pitcher's mound and first base.
Holliday had homered an inning earlier, putting the Cardinals ahead 4-2.
In the fourth, the Cardinals used two hits, an error, a groundout and a sacrifice fly for a three-run rally, wiping out a 2-0 Braves lead
Carlos Beltran singled before Holliday grounded sharply to Chipper Jones, who threw the ball into right field while trying to start a 5-4-3 double play.
Allen Craig hit an RBI double, Yadier Molina added an RBI groundout to second, and David Freese hit a sacrifice fly to right for a 3-2 Cardinals lead.
The Braves, trailing 6-2 in the seventh, got a run back on Jose Constanza's triple and an RBI groundout by Michael Bourn.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse gave up a two-run homer by Atlanta's David Ross in the second inning,.
Lohse, lifted for reliever Lance Lynn with two out and a runner on board in the sixth, gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out six.
Lohse struck out four of the first five batters to face him, but walked Dan Uggla with two out in the second, then gave up Ross' two-run homer on a 1-2 pitch.
The Cardinals had only one baserunner against Kris Medlen -- Holliday was hit by a pitch with out in the first and was stranded -- before Beltran's leadoff single in the fourth.
In the top of the second, Braves right fielder Jason Heyward robbed Molina of an apparent home-run, leaping to snare the ball above the yellow stripe atop the right-field wall.
That became a footnote by the time Holbrook made his controversial call six innings later..
Holbrook defended the call, saying views of the replay confirmed his initial ruling on the field; just before the ball fell between Holliday and Kozma, Holbrook put his right hand in the air, signaling the out by infield fly rule.
"Once that fielder established himself, he got ordinary effort," he said, referring to Kozma calling for the ball, then veering away at the last moment as left fielder Holliday drifted in. "That's when the call was made."
Jones, playing his last game after a 19-year career, all with the Braves, reached on an infield single in his last major-league at-bat in the ninth. That meant little to him, however, given his role in the loss
"Ultimately, I feel I'm the one to blame," Jones said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.