So what's the overarching narrative for this game? Is it Shelby Miller's excellent performance? How Kyle Lohse shut down the Cardinals for 7+ innings? The missed chances? The long slog of an extra inning game that seemed like it might have no end?
Here's what you need to know: The Cardinals won.
The Cardinals won and took 2 games out of 3 in the series and put the Brewers 6 games back, their playoff hopes in serious peril.
Shelby really did look like Good Shelby tonight, mixing in 20 curves with 62 fastballs, and again allowed no walks. He was very efficient through the first three innings and didn't allow a hit until the 4th. That hit was a double by Jonathan Lucroy, who was then driven home by Aramis Ramirez for a Cardinal Killer Combo.
In the 3rd Matt Adams tumbled over the tarp and into the stands, made the catch, held the ball, blew a bubble getting back on his feet, and appeared to be unscathed. Take it easy there, big fella.
The Brewers came up with their second run when Lohse laid down a bunt to move Matt Clark over, but Shelby tried to get the lead runner and threw high and into center field. Then Scooter Gennett (f'n Scooter) hit a grounder that Adams tried to field, but he probably should have let Wong handle. The ball clanked off his glove and deflected away from anyone that could do anything about it. 2-0 Brewers.
In the 6th, Ryan Braun lined a pitch off Shelby's right shin. He was checked by the trainers and allowed to get the final out of the inning, but was then lifted in the bottom half pinch hitter Daniel Descalso.
After that, the bullpen was called on to cover the last
three seven innings. Good thing it's September.
In the 8th an Oscar Taveras basehit!, then lifted for the speedy Peter Bourjos. Here Lohse was replaced with Jonathan Broxton. Pinch hitting A.J. Pierzynski grounded to first but Mark Reynolds apparently forgot how many outs there were and only took the force at first, keeping the inning alive. After a Matt Carpenter walk, Jon Jay singled in the first Cardinals run of the game.
With two on, two out, and just one run down, superclutch Matt Holliday hit a chopper up the middle, made a mad dive into first and was called out. Play was reviewed and reversed, as Holliday was clearly safe. Carpenter had crossed home but was sent back to third as a result of the review. Now with the bases loaded SMASH! ATOMS!... drew a walk. But the Cardinals had tied the score and had a life.
While Seth Maness took care of the 7th and 8th, Trevor Rosenthal followed suit with a clean and uneventful 9th.
Honestly, after this the game is mostly a haze of missed chances, Mathenaging, and near escapes.
In the 9th Yadier Molina led off with a double, then was replaced on the basepaths by living legend Thomas Pham (I know, he's Tommy Pham. The SBN autolinker thing wants stuffy proper names. Boring.) Bourjos tried sac bunting him to third but failed, striking out on a 0-2 foul bunt. He saw three straight curves, and it looked like the Brewers battery called an audible when they realized he was still bunting down two strikes. Just... awful.
Carlos Martinez pitched 2 innings of his particular brand of exhilarating ball that is sometimes best watched with your eyes covered, peeking through your fingers. He did get a BIG strikeout of Carlos Gomez with bases loaded in the 11th.
The Cardinals finally broke through in the 13th, with singles from Holliday and Jhonny Peralta setting the stage for the big game-ending single from Tony Cruz, because of course T Cruz is just going to take care of business in that spot. No problem.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=970403&type=livewins&num=0&h=400&w=600&date=2014-09-18&team=Cardinals&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="400" width = "600" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2014-09-18&team=Cardinals&dh=0&season=2014">FanGraphs</a></span>
For more September baseball madness, tune in tomorrow when John Lackey takes on the Reds David Holmberg. First pitch at 7:15 Central.