Cardinals level NLDS against Braves
The St Louis Cardinals levelled the National League Division Series and forced a deciding game after outlasting the Atlanta Braves 5-4 after 10 innings.
Monday saw the Cardinals survive a must-win showdown in St Louis to set up a mouth-watering Game 5 against the Braves in the MLB playoffs.
The Cardinals prevailed in extra innings thanks to a clutch performance from Yadier Molina.
Three takeaways from the Cardinals' Game 4 win over the Braves
Molina is clutch
We have said it once and we will say it again: Molina is clutch.
The Cardinals needed something, anything to stay alive in Game 4. Who better to deliver than Molina? He has been great when called upon and his at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, and again in the 10th, was exactly what St Louis needed.
When he stepped to the plate with the tying run on second base and two outs in the eighth, the Cards needed a big hit — and they got it.
WHO ELSE?! pic.twitter.com/zKq8msNJer— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 7, 2019
Molina scored Paul Goldschmidt on a single.
When the game went into extra innings, Molina stepped up to the plate in the 10th with the walk-off run waiting on third base. There was just one out when Molina sent a sacrifice fly to left field. It scored Kolten Wong and that was that.
Molina finished one-for-four with two RBI.
Swanson has been the star of the show for Atlanta
It has been quite a couple of days for the Braves shortstop.
Dansby Swanson hit the game-tying RBI on Sunday and came out again to score Atlanta's first run on Monday. He is not only hitting but hitting with power. Each of Swanson's three hits Sunday had an exit velocity greater than 100 mph, according to MLB.com. While his bat was not as powerful Monday, Swanson still got on base three times, and scored twice.
He was brought home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ozzie Albies to put the Braves on the board in the third inning.
Swanson has had a great series for a player who missed last year's playoffs with an injury. He has seven hits in 14 at-bats.
Braves took advantage of another three-run inning
In Game 3, Atlanta staged a three-run rally in the ninth to tilt the series in their favour. Monday, the Braves again used a three-run inning to tilt the game in their favour.
They were trailing 3-1 with two outs in the top of the fifth when Swanson scored on an error and two batters later Albies hit a two-run homer to put Atlanta ahead.
Unfortunately, it would be part of the team's losing efforts, but one thing is clear: The Braves thrive under pressure.
In both games, the Braves' three-run rally came with two outs. They have outlasted the Cardinals before and could likely do so again with the crowd on their side in Atlanta for Game 5.
Game 5 is scheduled for Wednesday.