Behind perhaps one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, the St. Louis Cardinals scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to come away with a 9-7 victory and advance to the National League Championship series.
The game-winning hit came from shortstop Pete Kozma off of Nationals closer Drew Storen, who was responsible for all four Cardinals runs. After the clutch single, the Cardinals' Twitter feed simply could not contain its excitement.
"THEY...JUST...WON'T...GO...AWAY!" --Joe Buck. Cardinals erase 6-0 deficit and lead 9-7 with three outs to go...— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 13, 2012
St. Louis' comeback came from seemingly insurmountable odds after the Nationals shelled starter Adam Wainwright for six runs and sent him to the showers after just 2.2 innings.
Spurring that early offensive run were home runs from outfielder Bryce Harper and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Harper came into Friday night's game just 1-for-18 against the Cardinals, leaving many to wonder whether he should have been dropped in the order. Manager Davey Johnson bristled at that notion and kept Harper at the No. 2 spot—and his faith certainly paid off in Game 5.
The 19-year-old phenom's third-inning blast put him in elite company with Andruw Jones as the only two teenagers to hit a home run in postseason history, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Bryce Harper & Andruw Jones (2 in 1996) are the only teenagers to hit a HR in the postseason.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 13, 2012
Nevertheless, the Cardinals refused to give up and came roaring back.
After being flawless for the first three innings, Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez started struggling with control and St. Louis took advantage, scoring three runs total in the fourth and fifth innings to bring the score to 6-3.
The Cardinals later brought the score within two runs in the seventh inning on a Matt Holliday RBI groundout. That led to a very interesting tweet for those who love Sabermetrics from FanGraph's Matt Klaassen.
here's a fun couple of numbers:Matt Holliday 2012 wrc+: 141, Albert Pujols: 132— Matt Klaassen (@devil_fingers) October 13, 2012
From then on, something in the air just felt amiss as the Cardinals' comeback was engaged and ready to go.
For the Nationals, this game has to come as nothing short of a bitter disappointment. With the game in hand, it seemed like Washington was destined for the NLCS.
Nevertheless, Friday night is about the Cardinals and their Game 5 victory continuing a World Series defense that so few saw coming at the beginning of the season. After losing manager Tony LaRussa and first baseman Albert Pujols, it seemed like the new era would take time to build.
Well, after Friday night's heroics, it seems like the time is now in St. Louis.
Just an absolutely fantastic story amid one of the most exciting baseball seasons in recent memory.