2019 National League Division Series 2
|2019 National League Division Series|
|St. Louis Cardinals
91 - 71 in the NL
|3 - 2
97 - 65 in the NL
|1||St. Louis Cardinals 7 Atlanta Braves 6||October 3||Miles Mikolas (0-0) Dallas Keuchel (0-0)||5:02 pm|
|2||St. Louis Cardinals 0 Atlanta Braves 3||October 4||Jack Flaherty (0-1) Mike Foltynewicz (1-0)||4:37 pm|
|3||Atlanta Braves 3 St. Louis Cardinals 1||October 6||Mike Soroka (0-0) Adam Wainwright (0-0)||4:10 pm|
|4||Atlanta Braves 4 St. Louis Cardinals 5||October 7||Dallas Keuchel (0-0) Dakota Hudson (0-0)||3:07 pm|
|5||St. Louis Cardinals 13 Atlanta Braves 1||October 9||Jack Flaherty (1-1) Mike Foltynewicz (1-1)||5:02 pm|
Game 1 @ SunTrust Park
|WP: Carlos Martinez (1-0); LP: Mark Melancon (0-1)|
|Home Runs: STL - Paul Goldschmidt (1); ATL - Ronald Acuna (1), Freddie Freeman (1)|
- Attendance: 42,631
Game 1 started out as a pitchers' duel, as the score was only 3-1 in favor of the Braves after 7 innings, but it ended up anything but, with 9 runs being scored over the final two innings and the Cardinals coming out on top, 7-6. The Braves sent their most experienced starter to the mound in Dallas Keuchel, while the Cardinals replied with Miles Mikolas, who although older that some of their other starters, was making his postseason debut. Keuchel got things started with a perfect 1st inning, but Mikolas walked lead-off man Ronald Acuna to put himself in immediate trouble. Acuna was caught stealing, but Mikolas then issued another walk to Ozzie Albies and he got to third base honestly, on a single by Freddie Freeman. Josh Donaldson then hit a ground ball to 2B Kolten Wong which allowed Albies to score the first run as his attempt to complete a double play after forcing out Freeman at second resulted in an error. The Braves had an early lead, but probably would have wanted more from an inning in which their first three batters had reached safely and the Cardinals also committed an error.
There was no more scoring until the 5th as the Cardinals wasted doubles by Mikolas in the 3rd and Paul Goldschmidt in the 4th by grounding into double plays in both innings. In the 5th, however, Harrison Bader reached on a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mikolas, and then stole third before scoring the tying run on a ground out by Dexter Fowler. Tommy Edman followed with yet another double and that marked the end of the day's work for Keuchel, who gave way to Darren O'Day who registered the final out. Shane Greene took over on the mound for Atlanta in the 6th and had to work his way out of a jam, after a leadoff double to Marcell Ozuna. He was left stranded as well, and then in the bottom of the frame, Atlanta went ahead after Tyler Webb replaced Mikolas on the mound. Webb plunked Donaldson with a pitch and Nick Markakis followed with a double, placing both men in scoring position. Webb then issued an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Adam Duvall to load the bases and manager Mike Shildt asked Giovanny Gallegos to face another pinch-hitter in Francisco Cervelli. Gallegos struck out the veteran backstop, but Dansby Swanson followed with a single that scored both Donaldson and Markakis for a 3-1 Braves lead.
The Braves seemed to have the game in hand, needing just to go through the final three innings and Max Fried got them three outs closer to victory by getting the Cardinals in order in the top of the 7th. Atlanta had a chance to add to its lead in the bottom of that inning as Donaldson came up with runners on first and second and one out, but facing Andrew Miller he lined into a double play started by SS Paul DeJong that kept the game close. The Cardinals immediately replied in the 8th. Manager Brian Snitker had wanted Chris Martin to come to the mound, but he suffered an oblique injury after just one warm-up pitch and had to be replaced by Luke Jackson, who immediately gave up a monster homer to Goldschmidt. After two outs, DeJong and Wong hit back-to-back singles, bringing up pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter, batting for Bader. Snitker replied by calling on closer Mark Melancon, but after Carpenter worked the count full, he allowed a single that was just fair down the left field line; DeJong scored to tie the game, but Wong was thrown out at home. There was plenty of maneuvering in the bottom of the 8th, but the Braves were unable to score. It was thus a 3-3 tie game heading into the 9th.
What had been a low-scoring game until then suddenly turned completely around in a wild 9th inning. Fowler started things off with a one-out single and went to third on another single by Edman. Melanson then walked Goldschmidt to load the bases but Ozuna doubled to left, scoring two runs. After an intentional walk to Yadier Molina, Melanson struck out DeJong for the second out, but Wong hit another double to add two more runs to the ledger. With a 7-3 lead, the Cardinals now seemed safely headed for the win, as starter-turned-closer Carlos Martinez, who had recorded the final out in the 8th, took the mound. He immediately made things more interesting by walking pinch-hitter Billy Hamilton and then surrendering a homer to Acuna. Still the Cards had a two-run lead. Albies was out on a close play at first which the Braves unsuccessfully challenged, then Freeman hit a homer as well to bring Atlanta within one run. However, Martinez was able to get the final two outs, Donaldson on a ground ball and Markakis on strikes, to finally end the game.
Game 2 @ SunTrust Park
|WP: Mike Foltynewicz (1-0); LP: Jack Flaherty (0-1); SV: Mark Melancon (1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Adam Duvall (1)|
- Attendance: 42,911
During last year's Division Series, the Braves' nominal ace, Mike Foltynewicz, had had a rough go of it in his two styarts against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his troubles had spilled over into this year's regular season, leading to a demotion to AAA at the end of June. However, he had pitched well since his return in August and today had a tough task on his hands as his opponent, the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty had been the best pitcher in the National League during the second half of the season, putting up an ERA under 1.00 and being named the Pitcher of the Month in both August and September. Game 2 was indeed an affair dominated by pitching, and Foltynewicz had one of the best outings of his career to even the series at one game apiece.
The Cards went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st, but in the bottom of the inning, after one out, Ozzie Albies reached on an infield single and then took second on a wild pitch. Flaherty got Freddie Freeman to ground out to first, but that moved Albies 90 feet closer to home plate. Josh Donaldson was up next and he hit a clutch single to left to put the Braves ahead, 1-0. That's how the score would remain until the 7th inning, as both pitchers were excellent. The best chance to add more runs came in the Braves' half of the 4th, as Nick Markakis and Matt Joyce led off with back-to-back singles, putting runners on the corners with no one out. But Flaherty got out of the jam expertly, forcing Brian McCann to hit a harmless pop-up and then striking out Dansby Swanson. With Foltynewicz, an inept hitter, due up next, the Braves tried to put on a play with two strikes on Swanson, as Joyce faked a steal, drawing a throw from C Yadier Molina while Swanson swung and missed. 2B Kolten Wong immediately saw that it was a decoy to force a rundown that could have allowed Markakis to steal home, and he immediately threw to third base, getting the runner before he could make it safely back to the bag.
Foltynewicz completed his 7th inning of work by getting Wong to ground into a double play to end the inning, leaving with a terrific line of no runs on 3 hits and no walks in 7 innings, along with 7 strikeouts. Flaherty had been almost as good up to that point, but the Braves managed to put on some insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. McCann singled with one out, and after Swanson had struck out, manager Brian Snitker sent in Adam Duvall to pinch-hit for Foltynewicz. Duvall had also struggled during the season, joining Foltynewicz with the AAA Gwinnett Stripers for a spell, and the fans were not happy to see Foltynewicz come out of the game. The move paid off in spades, however, as Duvall drove a pitch behind the center field fence on a full count, increasing Atlanta's lead to 3-0. Still, given how poorly the last two innings had gone for the Braves the night before, nobody was counting their chickens yet. Max Fried was brought in to pitch the 8th, and like he had done in the 7th in Game 1, he was solid, striking out the first two batters, then after a hit by pinch-hitter Jose Martinez, getting Dexter Fowler on a line-out. So it was up to Mark Melancon, coming off a bad beating, to save the win. He retired Tommy Edman on a ground ball, but got himself in trouble with back-to-back hits by Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna. The next batter, Yadier Molina, represented the tying run, but Melancon struck him out. Wong was now the Cards' last hope, but he struck out as well to end the game, and the Series was tied as the two teams headed to St. Louis.
Game 3 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Sean Newcomb (1-0); LP: Carlos Martinez (1-1); SV: Mark Melancon (2)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 46,701
The Braves pulled off a late-game rally to win Game 3, scoring 3 runs with two outs in the 9th, to pull a 3-1 win out of nowhere and take a 2 games to 1 lead in the series. Until then, the Braves had been completely stymied by veteran starter Adam Wainwright, who in 7 2/3 innings of work only allowed 4 hits - only one of which went for extra bases, a double by Dansby Swanson - and 2 walks, both of which came with two outs in the 8th inning when he was running out of steam. He struck out 8 batters and was in complete control until handing over the ball to Andrew Miller, another veteran of pressure situations in the postseason, who completed the 8th inning. The only blemish on this great script was that the Cardinals' batters had not been able to do much damage themselves. Rookie Mike Soroka was almost as good as his elder, but he had given up a run, meaning St. Louis had a small 1-0 lead as closer Carlos Martinez came out to pitch the 9th.
St. Louis had scored its only run in the 2nd on a lead-off bloop double by Marcell Ozuna, a ground out and a sacrifice fly by Matt Carpenter. Ozuna's double was one of only 2 hits allowed by Soroka in 7 innings of work, and he walked none and struck out 7, so being down 1-0 was not a fair reflection of how well he had pitched. In the top of the 8th, the Braves mounted a rare threat to chase Wainwright, on a one-out single by Swanson and a two-out walk to Ronald Acuna; between those two batters, Adam Duvall had pinch-hit for Soroka but lined out to third. After Ozzie Albies walked as well to load the bases. Manager Mike Shildt called on Miller to face Freddie Freeman, and he induced a fly ball to center to end the threat. Max Fried came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th, but he allowed back-to-back walks to Carpenter and Tommy Edman to lead things off. Fried forced Paul DeJong to fly out to right for out number 1, then when Jose Martinez came out to pinch-hit for Miller, Darren O'Day replaced Fried on the mound. He immediately caught Harrison Bader, who was pinch-running for Carpenter, leaning towards third and stepped off and threw to 3B Josh Donaldson for an extremely important second out, especially as Martinez then singled to left. Edman had to stop at second, however, and Sean Newcomb then got Dexter Fowler to fly out to center. Both teams had wasted good chances and removed their starting pitchers from the game, but the score was still 1-0.
So it came down to a fateful 9th inning. Donaldson opened things up with a double to left but Martinez then struck out Nick Markakis and pinch-hitter Adeiny Hechevarria to move to within one out of a save. Shildt then decided to issue an intentional walk to Brian McCann, bringing up Swanson, considering the righty constituted a better match-up than the veteran left-handed catcher. There were now pinch-runners on both bases, Billy Hamilton on second and Rafael Ortega on first, and they both took off as Dansby lined Martinez's first pitch to right field for a double. Hamilton scored the tying run, and both Ortega and Swanson were now in scoring position. They both scored on a single by Duvall, his second extremely clutch hit of the series, and the Braves now had a 3-1 lead. It was up to Mark Melancon to make that lead stand. He retired Kolten Wong on a grounder to shortstop which prompted the Cardinals to ask for a video review, then Paul Goldschmidt doubled. However, Melancon struck out Ozuna and got Yadier Molina to line out to center to complete the stunning comeback win.
Game 4 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Miles Mikolas (1-0); LP: Julio Teheran (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Ozzie Albies (1); STL Paul Goldschmidt (1); Marcell Ozuna 2 (2)|
- Attendance: 42,203
The Cardinals were facing elimination in Game 4, and for a while things were not looking good for them as they were down 4-3 entering the bottom of the 8th. But they managed to tie the score, and then win the game with a run in the 10th inning to force a return to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5. On the mound, Game 1 starter Dallas Keuchel was back at it for the Braves, whereas the Cardinals used a fourth different starting pitcher in Dakota Hudson, who was making his postseason debut but had been very solid at home during the regular season. The Cardinals jumped quickly ahead in the 1st as Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna hit back-to-back solo homers off Keuchel with two outs, giving St. Louis a quick 2-0 lead. The Braves then opened their own ledger in the 3rd on singles by Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuna and a sacrifice fly by Ozzie Albies. One inning later, the Cardinals increased their lead to 3-1 as Ozuna hit his second homer of the game to lead off the inning. After one out, Matt Carpenter walked and Braves manager Brian Snitker yanked Keuchel, bringing in Luke Jackson who walked Tommy Edman but then struck out the next two batters.
The roof suddenly caved in on the Cardinals in the 5th inning however. Swanson doubled with one out and moved to third on a passed ball. Adam Duvall then hit a ball to Carpenter at third base which he couldn't field cleanly, and Swanson scored while Duvall was safe at first. After a second out, Albies homered, and just like that the Braves were ahead, 4-3. This also ended Hudson's day on the mound, as he gave way to Tyler Webb. After all that early scoring, the game settled down and there were no more runs until the 8th, but plenty of substitutions, pitching changes - and missed opportunities. The Cards needed three pitchers to get through the 6th as the Braves loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks, but were unable to score. In the 7th, Acuna hit a lead-off triple, but Andrew Miller managed to escape that jam after walking two more batters as Adeiny Hechevarria flew out to Ozuna in left field for the third out. Ryan Helsley struck out the side for the Cards in the top of the 8th, then in the bottom of the inning, after one out, Snitker called in Shane Greene to replace Josh Tomlin on the mound. He allowed a double to Golschmidt and after a second out, a single to veteran catcher Yadier Molina that tied the score.
The Braves wasted yet another opportunity in the top of the 9th when Acuna led off with an automatic double this time, but couldn't advance as the next three batters made outs against Carlos Martinez. Edman led off the bottom of the inning with a single for St. Louis, but he could not advance either, so extra innings were required. Both teams had burned through pitchers at an alarming rate during regulation time - 6 for Atlanta and 7 for St. Louis -, and now with a possible lengthy battle looming, the two managers decided to bring in a starting pitcher to settle in for a possible longer haul. Mike Shildt used Game 1 starter Miles Mikolas, who retired the Braves in order in the 10th. Snitker replied by tabbing Julio Teheran, but he got off on the wrong foot with a double by Kolten Wong that bounced into the stands in the left field corner. Goldschmidt was walked intentionally to set up a possible double play, and it almost worked as Ozuna hit a tapper back to Teheran. He got Goldschmidt at second, but Ozuna beat out Albies' throw to first base and Wong advanced to third. Molina was up again and the veteran catcher again came through, this time with a fly ball to LF Adam Duvall that allowed Wong to score and ended the game.
Game 5 @ SunTrust Park
|WP: Jack Flaherty (1-1); LP: Mike Foltynewicz (1-1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Josh Donaldson (1)|
- Attendance: 43,122
On paper, Game 5 looked set up to be a duel with huge stakes between two of the best young pitchers in the National League in Jack Flaherty and Mike Foltynewicz, but it took less than half an hour for the books to close on the series, as Foltynewicz had one of the worst outings of his career and did not make it through what was for Braves fans a nightmarish 1st inning. By the time it was over, the Cardinals had set a number of postseason records in building a 10-0 lead and it was all over but the shouting. Whatever faint hope the Braves may have had of coming back was crushed when Flaherty showed that, contrary to his opponent, he was up to the task, and the final score was a severe 13-1 beating.
The fateful inning started off when Foltynewicz walked Dexter Fowler on a full count. Playing small ball tactics in expecting a low-scoring affair, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt ordered Kolten Wong to lay down a sacrifice bunt, which he executed. Paul Goldschmidt then followed with a single, advancing Fowler to third and Marcell Ozuna singled as well, driving in a first run. A double play would still have gotten the Braves out of trouble at that point, but it wasn't to be: the usually sure-handed 1B Freddie Freeman was unable to handle Yadier Molina's ground ball, loading the bases on the error, and Matt Carpenter drew a walk, forcing in a second run. Tommy Edman then had the key hit, a double down the right field line that scored two more runs to make it a big inning. Brian Snitker elected to issue an intentional walk to Paul DeJong to load the bases and face Flaherty, with Max Fried taking over on the mound, but the reliever committed a cardinal sin, walking the opposite pitcher, his former high school teammate to boot, with the bases loaded. The rout was officially on. Fowler batted for the second trime and doubled, bringing in two more runs, as did Wong. It was now 9-0, and there was still just one out. Goldschmidt lined out to right, ending a streak of 9 straight batters having reached base, but Wong advanced to third, and he brought the lead into double figures when Ozuna struck out but C Brian McCann was unable to handle the pitch, the dropped third strike allowing Ozuna to reach first while Wong scooted home. Finally, Molina grounded out to third to end the inning, but by now it was 10-0 and the series was basically over. Shildt immediately made a defensive move, bringing in Harrison Bader to play center field and moving Edman over from the outfield to third base in place of Carpenter, a clear sign that he thought he had enough runs in the bank and was now only thinking of putting the best possible defence to play behind his young ace pitcher.
Flaherty allowed a couple of baserunners in the 1st, but got out of the jam by striking out Josh Donaldson and getting Nick Markakis to ground out. Maybe, just maybe, if the Braves had been able to score a couple of runs in that frame, they could have made a game of it, but now they were completely deflated. The rest of the game was academic. The Cards kept padding their lead with another run in the 2nd on a triple by Edman and a double by DeJong, and two more in the 3rd on a walk, a hit-by-pitch, an error by 2B Ozzie Albies and run-scoring singles by Bader and DeJong. The Braves' only run came on a solo homer by Donaldson in the bottom of the 4th. There was a bit of tension in the 5th when Ronald Acuna was hit by a pitch and both benches were warned not to start anything extra-curricular, but when Flaherty came up to bat in the 6th, nothing happened as he struck out against Sean Newcomb. Flaherty ended up pitching 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits to earn the win. After the game, the Braves ' veteran catcher McCann announced his retirement.
The 10-run 1st inning was a postseason record and tied the record fopr most runs in any inning in the postseason. Foltynewicz only made 23 pitches before being knocked out of the game. With 13 runs in the first 3 innings, the Cards matched their total from the first four games of the series.
- Gabe Lacques: "Cardinals manager Mike Shildt sorry for profanity – but not for passion – in leaked postgame speech", USA Today, October 10, 2019. 
- Will Leitch: "Who has edge? STL-ATL position by position", mlb.com, September 3, 2019. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Jack Flaherty, baseball's hottest pitcher, leads Cardinals into NLDS against Braves", USA Today, October 2, 2019. 
- Manny Randhawa: "Cardinals get 'revenge' vs. Braves 23 years later", mlb.com, October 10, 2019. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "Braves-Cardinals NLDS preview: Can St. Louis' pitching slow down Ronald Acuña Jr. and Atlanta?", USA Today, October 3, 2019. 
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series