The St. Louis Cardinals are the greatest comeback team in the history of baseball. They never quit, they never die and they always find a way to win. Last year, in game six of the World Series, the Cards did the unthinkable, rallying from down two in the bottom of the ninth facing elimination. Twice in that game, the Cardinals season came down to one last strike, both times they came through. The rest is history; the Cards went on to win the game and the next night they won the World Series.
On Friday night, the Cardinals did it again, and this comeback may just be even more remarkable than the one in the World Series last year. In game five of the Division Series, the Cardinals fell behind early, trailing 6-0 in the third inning to a Washington Nationals team with the best record in the majors. A lot of people on Twitter were saying it was over, but the Cards sure didn’t believe that. Where a lot of teams might panic, the Cards kept their cool, remained calm and slowly but surely chipped away at the Nationals six-run lead, closing to within two runs in the ninth inning. In the ninth, the Cards faced against Nationals closer Drew Storen, and with two outs, the Cardinals again found themselves one strike away from elimination. One strike away from losing the chance to defend the title, one strike away from having your season crumble down around you. What did the Cards do? They stayed patient at the plate, working the count and eventually getting on base.
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That set the stage for Daniel Descalso, a guy who was mainly just a defensive replacement last year, and Pete Kozma, a guy who most people had never heard of before this series, to come up in the clutch and deliver the two biggest hits of the Cardinals’ season. Two swings of the bat, three minutes, Cardinals 9, Nationals 7. The Cardiac Cards had done it again, and this comeback, I think, is even more impressive than game six last year. Before last night, the biggest deficit a team had overcome in a winner-take-all game, was four runs. Before last night, only one team (the 1992 Braves) had comeback from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning of a winner-take-all game. Finally, the Cards joined the ’72-’73 Oakland A’s as the only teams in MLB history to win two sudden-death games in back-to-back postseasons.
The Cardinals proved something to the baseball world last night. No matter how big the deficit, no matter how unlikely it seems, we will never give up, we will always keep fighting and we will not die.
During last season’s World Series game-six comeback, announcer Joe buck said it best: “They just won’t go away.”
And last night in Washington, D.C., it was deja vu all over again.