And add this as another example of how silly ballplayers can be — not only that Nick Punto’s teammates celebrated his 10th-inning walk-off winning sacrifice fly by tearing his jersey and shirt off (something David Freese was very focused on, as you can see in the photo below) but that tearing off clothes is something Punto just does.
Nick Punto’s alter ego is The Shredder, a maniac who rips dress shirts right off a teammates’ torso.
“It’s been known to happen on occasion,” the St. Louis Cardinals’ utilityman said. “I’ve actually shredded people’s dress shirts on airplane flights.”
Well, silliness is good. But alter egos? Um. Perhaps all that time on the disabled list this season had some unwelcome drawbacks …
Regardless, the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings last night were highly energizing baseball that thankfully made up for the rest of the game — a frustrating eight-and-a-half innings filled with missed chances and two more GIDPs.
And with Craig Kimbrel on for the Braves to close it out in the ninth, trying to continue his streak of 25 consecutive saves, it looked like things could end in that same frustrating way. Yet, as we all know, it ain’t over til it’s over.
In the ninth, the Cards had the bases loaded with two outs when Albert came to the plate. He hit it past the first baseman down the right field line, which allowed Punto to score from third and Rafael Furcal to score from second. Ryan Theriot attempted to score the winning run from first yet was caught in a bit of a rundown between third and home and out. Whether this is a TOOTBLAN or not, I don’t know — does it matter if he’s following Jose Oquendo’s direction waving him in?
After Jason Motte quickly retired the three Braves he faced in the top of the 10th, the Cards were up at bat again. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman had back-to-back singles, which brought up pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso. The outcry on Twitter was fierce when DD was called upon to bunt, especially when his first two attempts were foul, but his third try was the charm — a perfect bunt that advanced Holliday and LB. Skip Schumaker was then intentionally walked to load the bases … perhaps trying to get the Cards to add to that league-leading GIDP total.
Up came Punto, out to center went the ball, in came Holliday. Then out came the Cardinals from the dugout and off came Punto’s shirts.
A happy ending, a great comeback and an essential win over the wild-card leader — and the Brewers lost as well. So, one step closer to an improbable comeback.
And, to use Joaquin Andujar’s favorite word, you-never-know …
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.