MLB Wild Card Game Report: Cardinals Beat Braves, 6-3 ; Orioles Top Rangers, 5-1
The St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles advanced to the divisional series round of their respective league playoffs with road victories on Friday in the first-ever win-or-go home MLB wild card games. Here's a recap of the action:
St. Louis Cardinals 6 — Atlanta Braves 3
Matt Holliday went 2-for-3 with a home run and St. Louis benefitted from an umpire's call, as the Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-3, at Turner Field on Friday. St. Louis advanced to play the Washington Nationals in a best-of-five National League Divisional Series starting on Sunday.
Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Braves rallied with runners on first and second with one out when Andrelton Simmons popped up to shallow left field. Cardinals' shortstop Pete Kozma settled under the ball, but dashed away at the last second, believing left fielder Holliday had called him off. As the ball dropped, left-field umpire Sam Holbrook ruled Simmons out due to the infield fly rule, which prevented Atlanta from loading the bases. Unhappy Braves' fans then littered the field with debris, causing a 19-minute delay. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez argued vehemently, and the Braves formally protested after the game, all to no avail. St. Louis' reliever Jason Motte got out of the inning by striking out Michael Bourn. Motte kept Atlanta from scoring in the ninth by getting Dan Uggla to ground out with two men on base.
Trailing 2-0 after Atlanta catcher David Ross homered off Cardinals' starter Kyle Lohse in the second inning, St. Louis touched up previously dominant Braves' pitcher Kris Medlen for three runs in the fourth. The rally was fueled in part by an error committed by Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, who played in the last game of his decades-long career. The Cardinals added to their lead in the sixth and seventh innings, before Atlanta scored again to set up the eighth inning drama.
Baltimore Orioles 5 — Texas Rangers 1
Joe Saunders scattered six hits over 5 2/3 innings and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 5-1, at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday. The Orioles, making their first post-season appearance in 15 years, advanced to play the New York Yankees in a best-of-five American League Divisional Series starting on Sunday.
The two-time defending American League champion Rangers' season ended early. Despite leading the A.L. West by five games with just over a week to play in the regular season, Texas lost nine of its last 13 games, losing the division title to Oakland.
With the game tied 1-1 after five innings, Baltimore's Adam Jones hit a tie-breaking sacrifice fly off Rangers' starter Yu Darvish to score J.J. Hardy. The Orioles tacked on a run in the seventh and two more in the ninth. Texas loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Orioles' closer Jim Johnson got David Murphy to fly out to close the game. Texas failed to record an extra-base hit in the game, and Baltimore had just one: Robert Andino's ninth-inning double off the left field wall.