8. Rallying to ruin the Nationals’ hopes (Oct. 12, 2012)
In the deciding Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS, the Washington Nationals got out to a six-run lead over the Cardinals after three innings. But the Cardinals didn’t quit, and the comeback was headlined by two unlikely heroes in the top of the ninth.
With the Cardinals down 7-5 with the bases loaded and two outs, Daniel Descalso hit a ground ball the other way that scored two runs. After that, Pete Kozma, who was almost unquestionably the Cardinals worst-hitting position player, singled to drive in two more runs and give the Cardinals a 9-7 lead. Jason Motte finished the game without a problem.
While Kozma and Descalso were not exactly prolific hitters, they shone brightly when it mattered most with the postseason on the line.
7. The Cardinals-Reds brawl (Aug. 10, 2010)
Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who was pinned against the backstop, kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head, giving him a concussion leading to his retirement. Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan crawled through the legs of multiple players to emerge from the melee unscathed.
Cueto was suspended for seven games, and various other players and managers received fines. Phillips was not a welcome sight for many Cardinals fans for the rest of his tenure in the major leagues.
6. The Chris Correa hacking scandal (2015)
A Cardinals scandal rocked the baseball world when former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was revealed to have accessed the Houston Astros’ computer database to attempt to prove that former Cardinals employees took intellectual property with them to Houston. Correa later used this access to gain information about scouting and drafting.
After this scandal was uncovered, Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison, and the Cardinals were forced to surrender their two top picks in the 2017 draft to the Astros. While the Astros’ subsequent cheating scandal may have proven Correa’s suspicions correct, his actions caused a large dent in the Cardinals’ plans in building for the future.
5. Matt Holliday’s tearful farewell (Sept. 30, 2016)
Matt Holliday was one of the Cardinals’ best players of the decade, and it was common knowledge that he wouldn’t be re-signed following the season. While his pinch-hit appearance against the Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn’t be his final at-bat in a Cardinals uniform, it did serve as his goodbye to the fans. And he did it in style.
Holliday had just been reinstated from what was then called the disabled list. He was called upon to hit, and he received thunderous applause from the fans, all of whom knew this was likely his last hurrah. He then drilled a home run to the opposite field, sending the fans into a frenzy. After the inning, he stepped into his customary spot in left field amid the crowd chanting his name.
It would have been perfect had this been his final at-bat. As it is, I’ll have to settle for it just being a really awesome moment.