Nick Punto

Nick Punto celebrates his game-winning sacrifice fly. Photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

September 9, 2011 – Cards walk off vs Braves

Coming into this game, the Braves’ record was 84-60 and the Cardinals’ record was 76-67. A win would put the Braves up by 8.5 games, and a loss would drop their lead to 6.5 games. This is one of many games you could look back on as a turning point.

The Braves scored two in the top of the first inning on hits by Michael Bourn, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman.The Cardinals got one run back when they manufactured a run in the bottom of the first. A walk, a single and an RBI groundout by Matt Holliday made it 2-1.

Cardinals’ starter Edwin Jackson would settle down and not allow any runs the next five innings. Braves’ starter Randall Delgado would not allow any runs over the next four innings.

The score would stay 2-1 all the way until the ninth inning. In the top of the frame, the Braves scored a run on an RBI triple by Bourn off of Octavio Dotel. The Braves brought in Craig Kimbrel to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Skip Schumaker led off with a single. Kimbrel then got Nick Punto to ground out and Gerald Laird to strikeout. Down to their final out, Rafeal Furcal drew a walk. Ryan Theriot then pinch hit, and also drew a walk. The bases were loaded for Albert Pujols.

Pujols singled to drive in two runs to tie the game. There was a bobbled throw and Ryan Theriot tried scoring all the way from first on the single. He ran through a stop sign and was thrown out at home to end the inning. The damage was done and Kimbrel’s streak of 25 consecutive saves was snapped.

Jason Motte threw a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th. In the bottom of the 10th, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman led off the inning with singles. Daniel Descalso pinch hit for David Freese and laid down a bunt. Skip Schumaker was intentionally walked, setting up Nick Punto with the bases loaded. Punto hit a sac fly to win the game, and the Cardinals celebrated by tearing off Punto’s jersey.

River Bandits Advance in Midwest League Playoffs

The night before, the Quad Cities River Bandits beat the Clinton Lumberkings 5-3 to advance to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs. They had won game one of the best-of-three series 9-5 the night before.

In game one, Oscar Taveras had three hits and three RBIs. Jonathan Rodriguez had five RBI, three of which came on a 3-run home run in the first inning.

On the mound, Boone Whiting got the win with this line: 6IP, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 9K. Seth Maness, Aiden Lucas and Dean Kiekhefer allowed two runs over the last three innings to preserve the win.

The Bandits needed a comeback to win game two. Stefen Romero and Mike McGee each homered for the Lumberkings to give them a 3-1 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the Bandits got a walk, two doubles and two singles to score three runs and go up 4-3. They also added an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th before Kiekhefer again closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.