2020 National League Wild Card Series 2

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2020 National League Wild Card Series
San Diego Padres logo
2020 National League Wild Card Series logo
St. Louis Cardinals logo
San Diego Padres
37 - 23 in the NL
2 - 1
Series Summary
St. Louis Cardinals
30 - 28 in the NL


The Teams[edit]




Series results[edit]

Main article: 2020 NLWC4
Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 St. Louis Cardinals 7 San Diego Padres 4 September 30 Kwang-Hyun Kim (0-0) Chris Paddack (0-1) 5:00 pm
2 St. Louis Cardinals 9 San Diego Padres 11 October 1 Adam Wainwright (0-0) Zach Davies (0-0) 7:00 pm
3 St. Louis Cardinals 0 San Diego Padres 4 October 2 Jack Flaherty (0-1) Craig Stammen (0-0) 7:00 pm


Game 1 @ Petco Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cardinals 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 13 1
Padres 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 8 0
WP: Giovanny Gallegos (1-0); LP: Chris Paddack (0-1); SV: Alex Reyes (1)
Home Runs: STL - Paul Goldschmidt (1)
  • Attendance: none

The Cardinals won Game 1 by jumping on young Padres starter Chris Paddack early, and then nursing that lead until the end of the game, helped by some baserunning mistakes by their opponents. Paddack was only starting because San Diego's top two starters, Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet, were both unavailable due to injuries, a bad development for a team that had been second best in the National League during the season. The Cards did not get a great performance from their starter, Korean Kwang-Hyun Kim, but they managed to keep the Padres from putting up a crooked number in any inning, and that was enough to escape with a 7-4 win.

The Cardinals jumped on Paddack for four 1st-inning runs, setting the tone for the game. Tommy Edman got things started with a one-out single and Paul Goldschmidt followed immediately with a home run and a quick 2-0 lead. Dylan Carlson then followed with a double and Yadier Molina with a single, accounting for a third run, then Paul DeJong made it four straight hits with a double, although Molina stopped at third base. Paddack finally recorded a second out on a fly ball by Matt Carpenter, but it was deep enough for the Cardinals' catcher to cross home plate and the half inning ended with a 4-0 Cardinals lead. But Kim was unable to put up a shutdown inning as Fernando Tatis Jr. drew a lead-off walk and Manny Machado singled with Tatis reaching third base. Eric Hosmer followed with a sacrifice fly to center, but that was the only run. After Paddack got through the top of the 2nd by retiring the Cards in order, Kim gave up another run in the bottom of the inning as Jake Cronenworth led off by hitting a ball off the top of the center field wall. It stayed in the ballpark, though, so Cronenworth was a third base with a triple, and then scored on another sacrifice fly, that one by Austin Nola. The Cards then kicked Paddack out of the game in the 3rd, as they collected three more consecutive hits against him after one out, bringing in a fifth run. Matt Strahm relieved Paddack, but he allowed a fourth straight hit, a single by Carpenter, and it was now 6-2.

The Padres' relievers managed to stop the Cardinals' bats from that point on, but it took another five pitchers to do so. That allowed their batters to chip at the lead, with a run in the 3rd and another in the 6th. Kim was removed after allowing that third run in the 4th, but the 6th inning was the key one. Tommy Pham led off the bottom of the inning with a double off Ryan Helsley. Genesis Cabrera replaced Helsley and promptly plunked Cronenworth with a pitch, putting a second baserunner on. The Padres then got audacious, pulling off a double steal as Pham was barely safe at third base, being preserved when Edman dropped Molina's throw and was charged with an error. Nola followed with a fly ball to right. Pham scored easily, but Cronenworth managed to get caught between second and third base and was tagged out for a double play. That baserunning mistake loomed even more costly when the next two batters, Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham both reached base, on a single and walk respectively. Giovanny Gallegos had to bail out Cabrera, and in one of the game's key plays, struck out Tatis to end the inning, with the Cards' lead cut to 6-4.

The Padres had another chance to make it closer in the 8th, but again were caught out by a baserunning gaffe. Cronenworth was plunked for the second time of the game leading off the inning, this time by veteran Andrew Miller, and he made it to third base after one out on Profar's single to center. Grisham followed by hitting a ball to first baseman Goldschmidt, and Cronenworth once again got caught in no man's land. C Molina was ran him back to third base, but when he got there safely, Profar, who had not stopped running, had arrived at the bag as well. Molina tagged him, and after some confusion between Cronenworth and Profar as to which of them was out and who was safe, third base umpire Bill Miller set them straight by indicating to an incredulous Profar that he was at fault. Alex Reyes now came in to pitch and he got Tatis to ground out to short to end the inning. When the Cards finally broke through for a run against San Diego's 7th reliever in the top of the 9th, Trevor Rosenthal, the game was basically over. The Padres went down meekly in order against Reyes in the bottom of the 9th, knowing they had wasted the many opportunities they had had to get back in the game.

Game 2 @ Petco Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cardinals 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 9 10 1
Padres 0 0 0 2 0 4 3 2 x 11 15 2
WP: Emilio Pagan (1-0); LP: Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1); SV: Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Home Runs: STL - Kolten Wong (1), Paul Goldschmidt (2); SD - Fernando Tatis Jr. 2 (2), Manny Machado (1), Wil Myers 2 (2)
  • Attendance: none

Game 2 was a wild and entertaining affair, with the Padres staving off elimination by coming back from another early deficit and Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers putting on a power-hitting show not seen since the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig - literally! The starting pitchers in this game were Zach Davies for the Padres and veteran Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals, but neither would last very long in a game that taxed both bullpens to the breaking point.

Once again, the Cardinals started off strong, with the second batter of the game, Tommy Edman, singling off Davies and coming to score three batters later on a single by Yadier Molina. That became a 4-0 lead in the 2nd when Matt Carpenter hit a lead-off double, and scored on a single by Harrison Bader, who had tied a postseason record the night before by striking out five times. Kolten Wong then followed with a homer, and Davies was gone by the start of the 3rd inning, replaced by Pierce Johnson, the first of eight relievers for the Padres. The Padres got on the board in the 4th after Eric Hosmer, Tommy Pham and Keith Moreland led off the inning with consecutive singles to load the bases. Myers followed with a sharp grounder that appeared headed for the left-field corner, but Edman made a nice stop at third base, even managing to step on the bag ahead of Pham for the first out. Still, Hosmer scored. Wainwright then threw a wild pitch that allowed Moreland to advance to third base, but for some reason, Myers failed to also take advantage, staying put at first base, with the double play still in order. Wainwright walked Austin Nola to load the bases again, and was done for the night. Lefty Austin Gomber replaced him, but he walked Jake Cronenworth to force in a second run, before finding his mojo and striking out Grisham and Tatis to end the inning. At this point, Tatis was beginning to look like a potential goat, having stranded a haul of baserunners in the two games thus far, but the rest of the game would reverse that image completely.

It was now a full-on parade of relievers, with Austin Adams replacing Adrian Morejon in the middle of the 5th to prevent the Cards from capitalizing on Pham having somehow managed to let Wong's routine fly ball to lead off the inning drop off his wrist for a two-base error. In the bottom of the inning, it was Gomber who needed help to finish the frame, with Ryan Helsley being brought in to strike out Myers for the final out. After five complete innings, the score was still 4-2 and except for the numerous pitching changes and a few misplays, the game was a pretty normal one. However, the fireworks were about to start in earnest. After a leadoff walk to Paul DeJong to open the top of the 6th, Matt Strahm was summoned from the bullpen, and he walked Matt Carpenter as well, then allowed a double to Dexter Fowler to increase St. Louis' lead to 5-2. After striking out Bader, he got Wong to ground out to him, but it was enough for Carpenter to score, and it was 6-2. Out went Strahm, in came Garrett Richards who got the final out, but the Padres were now down by four with four turns at bat left.

At this point, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt decided it was time to expend one of his top relievers, bringing in fireballer Genesis Cabrera. But that is when the Padres' bats came awake. The inning started off innocently enough, with Nola working a walk, then Cronenworth did the same. After a talking to by veteran catcher Molina, Cabrera struck out Grisham, but the next batter was Tatis, and it was time for his coming out. Shildt brought in another top bullpen arm to face him in Giovanny Gallegos, but Tatis absolutely crushed a breaking ball, lining it at top speed into the left-field stands for a three-run homer. Next up was Manny Machado and on a full count, he hit a ball even further, deep into the left-center stands to tie the game at 6. Gallegos managed to retire two more batters around a double by Pham that missed clearing the fence by maybe six inches, and the inning ended, but the momentum had now clearly swung in San Diego's favor. Emilio Pagan was next to take the mound for the Friars, and he allowed a lead-off double to Paul Goldschmidt on his first pitch but he then settled to retire the next three batters, stranding Goldschmidt at third. The next Cards hurler was Daniel Ponce de Leon, and he gave up a homer to Wil Myers, a line drive that stayed just inside the left field foul pole. For the first time in the series, the Padres had a lead, and they then worked to pad it as after Nola drew a walk and with two outs, Tatis drilled a pitch to the opposite field this time for his second homer of the night. He celebrated this with a bat flip worthy of Jose Bautista as the Cards seemed down for the count.

But trailing 9-6, the Cardinals were not willing to hoist the white flag just yet. Drew Pomeranz came out to pitch the 8th and he promptly hit Carpenter with a pitch, then Fowler hit a ball on which SS Tatis made a magnificent diving stop, and then from a halfway prone position, he managed to throw to second base. The throw was ahead of Carpenter, but just out of 2B Cronenworth's reach, rolling all the way to foul territory in right field, allowing both runners to take an extra base. The next two batters, Bader and Wong, both hit fly balls to Grisham deep in center field, each out scoring a runner, with Fowler trotting ever so slowly on the second one to bring the Cardinals back to within one run. This did not please the Padres, and against Tyler Webb and Kodi Whitley in the bottom of the 8th, they made it a three-run lead again when Jurickson Profar hit a two-out single off Webb and Myers followed with a homer off the raw rookie Whitley. This was when the game got into historic territory. Tatis and Myers were the first teammates with a two-homer game in the postseason since Ruth and Gehrig had done so against the Chicago Cubs on this very day in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, the game that featured the famous called shot by Ruth. Together, the pair of Padres accounted for a whopping 9 RBIs. But was the game over? Not by a long shot - after all, it was only a three-run lead coming into the 9th! Closer Trevor Rosenthal came out and blew a 100 mph fastball past Goldschmidt with his first pitch. He tried to do the same thing with his second pitch, but this time Goldschmidt timed it perfectly and hit the ball back even harder into the center field stands to cut the lead to 11-9. A visibly shaken Rosenthal then ditched his fastball, throwing nothing but breaking pitches to Dylan Carlson - and he walked him on four pitches, bringing the tying run to the plate. Molina then singled to right, and the tying run was on first, with nobody out. Tyler O'Neill pinch-ran for the thirty-something catcher, but DeJong hit a major league pop-up just behind second base for an automatic out under the infield fly rule. Rosenthal then struck out Carpenter on a full count, when Carpenter flailed at a breaking ball in the dirt when he was clearly expecting a triple-digit fastball that never came. Fowler was next up, and he hit a ground ball to Hosmer at first to finally end this incredible game. The two teams would need to meet again for a deciding game the next day - provided they managed to find enough pitchers to get through what was likely to be another titanic clash!

Game 3 @ Petco Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Padres 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 x 4 8 1
WP: Austin Adams (1-0); LP: Jack Flaherty (0-1)
Home Runs: SD - Jake Cronenworth (1)
  • Attendance: none

After the slugfest that was Game 2, Game 3 was a tamer affair and the Padres set a record by using 9 pitchers to combine on a 4-0 shutout of the Cardinals, whose offense stopped producing after putting up 16 runs in the first two games. The Cardinals gave the ball to Jack Flaherty, who had been one of the best pitchers in the majors in 2019 but had struggled in 2020, whereas the Padres, devoid of any rested starting pitcher, turned to veteran reliever Craig Stammen to serve as an opener in what was conceived from the start as a bullpen game. Both approaches worked as well as could have been hoped: Flaherty had probably his best game of the year, and Stammen did what the the conventional starters used by the Padres in the first two games had failed to do: keep the Cardinals from building an early lead. Stammen faced 6 batters and allowed just a single to Dylan Carlson to open the 2nd, but Carlson was still on first base when he turned the ball over to sidearming lefty Tim Hill, who got Matt Carpenter to ground out to 1B Eric Hosmer to end the inning. Flaherty faced his first difficulties in the bottom of that inning as he loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but he struck out Trent Grisham to end the inning.

Hill's entrance into the game started a parade of relievers for the Padres, with Pierce Johnson coming in with two outs in the 3rd. He got the bases loaded before he struck out Carlson to end the inning. In the 4th, Adrian Morejon came in to pitch, and in the 5th, he gave way to Austin Adams with two runners on and the dangerous Paul Goldschmidt due up. In one of the key moments of the game, Adams struck out Goldschmidt looking on a full count to keep the game scoreless. The Padres scored the first run in the bottom of that inning when Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled with one out and scored on another double, this one by Hosmer. 20-year-old Colombian Luis Patino was next to pitch, and he allowed a one-out double to Yadier Molina, but he then made a great play on a broken-bat dribbler down the first base line by Paul DeJong, fielding the ball and tagging him out all in one motion. He then walked Matt Carpenter, but escaped by getting Dexter Fowler to fly out to center. Flaherty exited after having pitched 6 strong innings, having given up just the one run on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8 batters. Unfortunately, he was trailing, 1-0, and he would eventually be saddled with the loss, but really, he did everything that had been asked of him and then some.

Alex Reyes, who had picked up the save in Game 1, came to pitch the 7th, but he was betrayed by the Cards' usually strong defence. Jake Cronenworth led off with a single, but Grisham hit a ball to 2B Kolten Wong that had double play written all over it. However, Wong's throw was at least ten feet away from the second base bag, ending up in centerfield, with both runners taking an extra base. Tatis was given an intentional walk to load the bases, and Manny Machado followed by hitting a high bouncer towards third. 3B Tommy Edman jumped to catch it, and landed maybe one inch away from the third base bag, then threw home to cut off Cronenworth, but his throw was terrible, bouncing 15 feet in front of C Molina. The ball squirted out of Molina's glove as he tried to tag the runner, wrongly believing Edman had touched the bag and removed the force. The result was that Cronenworth scored, and no one was out, on what should have been another double play, while the bases were still loaded. Hosmer then drew a walked that forced in another run, making it 3-0. In danger of giving up a huge inning, the Cards then rallied, on an extremely rare 4-2-6 double play: Tommy Pham hit a ball to the drawn-in Wong. Hosmer stopped running to avoid being tagged, while Wong threw home to force out Tatis. Molina then saw that Hosmer was still far from second base and threw to DeJong. Second base umpire Doug Eddings initially called Hosmer safe, thinking a tag was needed, but in fact the force was still on and the error was quickly rectified. Pham stole second base uncontested, but Mitch Moreland struck out on a full count, ending one of the strangest innings in recent memory, as the Padres had managed to score twice while hitting only one ball out of the infield.

Down three runs with six outs left, the Cardinals were in trouble, and they couldn't get anything going against Drew Pomeranz in the 8th, as Molina's two-out walk was inconsequential. Reyes came back to pitch the bottom of the 8th, since his pitching hadn't been the problem in the 7th, but with two outs, he was tagged by Cronenworth for a homer to center field, making the hill the Cards had to climb even steeper. Trevor Rosenthal, who had given up a run in each of his appearances in the series, came out for the 9th, but he was at his best. He needed just 13 pitches to strike out the side - Carpenter, Fowler and Austin Dean, pinch-hitting for defensive substitute Tyler O'Neill - completing the unwieldy shutout and giving the Padres their first postseason series win since advancing to the 1998 World Series.

Further Reading[edit]

  • AJ Cassavell: "SD uses record 9 pitchers in shutout clinch", mlb.com, October 3, 2020. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "'Our own piece of history': Using nine pitchers, swaggering Padres shut out Cardinals to reach NLDS", USA Today, October 2, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]

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NL Wild Card Series Dodgers over Brewers (2-0)

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NL Wild Card Series Marlins over Cubs (2-0)

NL Wild Card Series Braves over Reds (2-0)

NL Division Series Dodgers over Padres (3-0)

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AL Wild Card Series Rays over Blue Jays (2-0)

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