The Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth innings and two more in the 10th to come from behind and beat the Marlins Monday in an 8-7 nail biter.
It was a nearly miraculous ending after the Redbirds spent the first 95 percent of the game shooting themselves repeatedly in the foot.
The Birds stranded runners in bunches to trail 2-0 through six innings. In the top of the seventh, St. Louis plated one run to cut the deficit to one. But the bullpen brought a whole bunch of gasoline to the bonfire and allowed four runs thanks to an intentional walk followed by a pair of unintentional base loaded walks.
The Cardinals trailed 6-2 and the game appeared to be all but over.
But St. Louis scored a run in the eighth to make it 6-3 when Hanley Ramirez booted a David Freese grounder to third that seemed like an easy double play chance. Then in the ninth Marlins closer Heath Bell walked Rafael Furcal to start the frame. Shane Robinson struck out looking on a questionable pitch, then Matt Holliday doubled to make it second and third with one down.
Carlos Beltran singled in one run to make the score 6-3 and Allen Craig hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4. Yadier Molina then homered to left with two outs to make the score six runs each and force extra innings.
In the Marlins ninth, skipper Ozzie Guillen complained that the Cardinals line-up card was messed up and the umpiring crew, after much deliberation, agreed. The result was that reliever Victor Marte was mistakenly written into the fifth spot of the line-up card on a double switch which forced the Cardinals to remove slugging first baseman Allen Craig from the game.
In the 10th, the Birds took the lead when Tyler Greene singled and then Furcal doubled him home. Holliday was knicked by a pitch to put two on and two out. So Miami intentionally walked Carlos Beltran with the Birds out of bench players, forcing rooking pitcher Joe Kelly to bat with the sacks jammed and two out. The kid grounded a ball to the right of shortstop and Kelly hustled down the first base line to beat out the throw and give the Cardinals a huge insurance run.
in the bottom of 10, Jason Motte allowed one run on a couple of hits then walked the tying run into scoring position with Jose Reyes at the plate. As is his way, Motte got ahead 0-2 in the count and then grooved a pitch which Reyes lined into centerfield -- fortunately right at Shane Robinson for the last out of the game.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Yadier Molina who tied it with a clutch homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Joe Kelly's hustle single that provided all the difference.
Lowlight: There are so many choices. But I'll go with the awful bullpen performance in the seventh inning.