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Cardinals erase 6-run deficit to beat Nationals
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Doesn't matter how bad things look for the St. Louis Cardinals. Trailing by a bunch, down to their last strike, they simply stay calm and do what it takes to win.

Erasing an early six-run hole in Game 5 slowly but surely, the defending World Series champion Cardinals got a tying two-out, two-run single from Daniel Descalso and a go-ahead two-run single from Pete Kozma in the ninth inning and came all the way back to beat the Washington Nationals 9-7 Friday night and win their NL division series.

It was the largest comeback ever in a winner-take-all postseason game, according to STATS LLC. No other club in this sort of ultimate pressure situation had come back from more than four down.

"We knew we had a lot of game left after they scored six. Nobody went up there trying to hit a six-run homer," said Descalso, whose solo shot in the eighth made it 6-5. "We needed to scratch and claw and get ourselves back in the game."

They did, barely: Descalso's saving single ticked off the glove of diving shortstop Ian Desmond.

First-year manager Mike Matheny and the wild-card Cardinals, the last team to clinch a playoff spot this year, will open the NL championship series at San Francisco on Sunday.

The Nationals, meanwhile, led the majors with 98 wins in 2012 but lost without All-Star ace Stephen Strasburg. The team said he'd thrown enough this year and didn't put him on the playoff roster.

Down 7-5 with two outs in the ninth against Nationals closer Drew Storen, the Cardinals twice were a strike away from losing. But Storen walked both of those batters, Yadier Molina and David Freese, setting the stage for the unheralded Descalso and Kozma — Nationals manager Davey Johnson even called the rookie "Cosmos" before Game 4 — to come through.

When Cardinals closer Jason Motte got Ryan Zimmerman to pop out to second base a half-hour past midnight, the Cardinals streamed from the visiting dugout for a rather muted celebration, all in all.

This was nothing new to them.

Over the past two years, St. Louis is 6-0 when facing elimination, including victories in Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series against Texas. Cardinals 9,Nationals 7

St. Louis AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Jay cf 4 1 0 0 1 1 .200

Beltran rf 3 2 3 0 2 0 .444

Holliday lf 5 0 1 2 0 1 .190

T.Cruz c 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Craig 1b 4 0 0 1 1 2 .316

Y.Molina c 3 0 0 0 2 0 .118

1-Chmbrs pr-lf 0 1 0 0 0 0 —-

Freese 3b 4 1 2 0 1 2 .421

Descalso 2b 5 3 3 3 0 1 .316

Kozma ss 5 0 2 2 0 0 .250

Wainwright p 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

J.Kelly p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

a-S.Robinsn ph 0 1 0 0 1 0 .000

Rosenthal p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

b-Schmaker ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Mujica p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Boggs p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

d-M.Crpntr ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Motte p 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Totals 37 9 11 8 8 10

Wash. AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Werth rf 5 1 1 0 0 0 .238

Harper cf 5 2 2 2 0 2 .130

Zimmermn 3b 5 2 2 2 0 1 .381

LaRoche 1b 4 1 1 0 0 2 .176

Morse lf 4 1 2 2 0 1 .263

Desmond ss 4 0 0 0 0 2 .368

Espinosa 2b 3 0 0 0 1 1 .067

K.Suzuki c 4 0 3 1 0 0 .235

G.Gonzalez p 2 0 0 0 0 1 .000

Stammen p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

S.Burnett p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

c-Bernadna ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .000

E.Jackson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Clippard p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

e-Tracy ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Storen p 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-

Totals 38 7 11 7 1 11

St. Louis 000 120 114 — 9 11 0

Washington 303 000 010 — 7 11 0

a-walked for J.Kelly in the 5th. b-grounded out for Rosenthal in the 6th. c-struck out for S.Burnett in the 6th. d-struck out for Boggs in the 8th. e-popped out for Clippard in the 8th. 1-ran for Y.Molina in the 9th. LOB—St. Louis 9, Washington 5. 2B—Beltran 2 (3), Holliday (1), Descalso (1), Werth (1), Zimmerman (1). 3B—Harper (1). HR—Descalso (2), off Clippard Zimmerman (2), off Wainwright Harper (1), off Wainwright Morse (1), off Wainwright. RBIs—Holliday 2 (4), Craig (3), Descalso 3 (6), Kozma 2 (5), Harper 2 (2), Zimmerman 2 (4), Morse 2 (2), K.Suzuki (2). SB—Descalso (1). CS—Freese (1). Runners left in scoring position—St. Louis 4 (Freese 2, Y.Molina 2) Washington 2 (Bernadina, Tracy). RISP—St. Louis 3 for 14 Washington 4 for 9. Runners moved up—Holliday 2, Y.Molina.

St. Louis IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Wainwright 21⁄3 7 6 6 0 5 7.88

J.Kelly 12⁄3 0 0 0 0 2 0.00

Rosenthal 1 0 0 0 0 2 0.00

Mujica 1 1 0 0 1 1 3.00

Boggs 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00

Motte W, 1-0 2 3 1 1 0 1 3.00

Wash. IP H R ER BB SO ERA

G.Gonzalez 5 5 3 3 4 5 4.50

Stammen 2⁄3 1 0 0 0 0 9.00

S.Burnett 1⁄3 0 0 0 0 0 27.00

E.Jackson 1 1 1 1 2 2 7.50

Clippard 1 1 1 1 0 1 3.00

Storen L, 1-1 1 3 4 4 2 2 9.00

Inherited runners-scored—S.Burnett 1-0. WP—G.Gonzalez. Umpires—Home, Alfonso Marquez First, Ed Hickox Second, Paul Emmel Third, Marvin Hudson Right, Jim Joyce Left, Joe West.

T—2:52. A—47,081 (50,291).

NLDS • St. Louis rallies in 9th to win Game 5 against Washington.
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