After 4 hours and 50 minutes of baseball, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams blasted a 16th-inning home run that ended up being the finishing blow to a marathon game. Adams had previously homered to break a 14th-inning tie with a home run, but the Cardinals allowed the Cincinnati Reds to tie the game in the bottom half as a result of a Zack Cozart RBI single. Fortunately for Cardinals fans, Adams was up to the challenge of another big-time at-bat, even if he wasn’t supposed to be in the game.
Adams is a much-heralded prospect for St. Louis, but he didn’t even start the game, and he’s a role player on the 2013 version of the Cardinals. Starting 1B Allen Craig exited the game early with an ankle sprain, but Adams filled in with his 10th and 11th home runs of the season to finish things off.
Other than Adams’ heroics, the Cardinals were led by a stellar bullpen effort and the big-time play of leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter. Before the 14th inning single from Cozart, the St. Louis bullpen used 6 pitchers to get through 7.1 innings of shutout ball. They were led by 2 sparkling innings from Tyler Lyons that featured 4 strikeouts, as well as 2 perfect frames from hard-throwing left-hander Trevor Rosenthal. On the offensive side, Carpenter finished off a 3-for-6 night that saw his slash line for the season finish at .315/.384/.476.
In addition to the in-game circumstances, this was a huge win for St. Louis in the standings. They now hold a 2.5-game lead over Cincinnati for home-field in the Wild Card game, but more importantly, they now trail the division-leading Pirates by only 1 game. The NL Central race is going to the wire, and it’s going to be a wild ride.