ST. LOUIS -- Newcomers, veterans and dramatic team performances made this year a memorable one for the Cardinals.
1) The Cardinals move on to NLCS
Oct. 9 vs. Braves
After forcing Game 5 of the National League Division Series with a thrilling walk-off (see below), the Cardinals wanted no drama in Game 5. In a rematch against Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, the Cardinals jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first inning, started by Dexter Fowler’s leadoff walk and continued with Kolten Wong’s sacrifice bunt that put Fowler in scoring position for back-to-back singles from Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals didn’t stop, even after they had chased Foltynewicz from the game after one-third of an inning and seven runs and Max Fried after 1 2/3 innings and four runs. St. Louis clinched its spot in the NL Championship Series by the fourth inning and won the game, 13-1, in Atlanta.
2) Cards force Game 5
Oct. 7 vs. Braves
Down, 2-1, and facing elimination at home, the Cardinals scratched out an extra-innings win against the Braves to force Game 5 of the NLDS. It started with back-to-back home runs from Goldschmidt and Ozuna off Dallas Keuchel in the bottom of the first, and Ozuna hit his second homer off Keuchel in the fourth to give the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. But the Braves clawed their way back to a 4-3 lead in the sixth until Yadier Molina singled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to tie it. And it was Molina yet again who pushed the Cardinals to their 5-4 win in 10 innings, when his sacrifice fly to deep left field was enough to score Wong from third base. The Cardinals marched back to Atlanta thanks to their veteran catcher, who wasn’t ready for the season to end yet.
3) Historic sweep
Sept. 22 vs. Cubs
The NL Central race was close heading into the final two weeks of the season, and it would come down to the winner of two crucial Cardinals-Cubs matchups. The division rivals played seven times, including a four-game series at Wrigley Field, with the Cardinals leading the division but the Cubs fast approaching. St. Louis took care of business, though, with four one-run victories. In their 3-2 win to complete the sweep, the Cardinals trailed, 2-1, until the ninth, when José Martínez hit a leadoff triple, and three batters later, Goldschmidt doubled in the winning run. Andrew Miller locked down the save, and the Cardinals clinched a postseason berth while also making history -- it was the first time they swept the Cubs at Wrigley Field in four games since 1921.
4) Welcome to the Cardinals, Goldy
March 29 vs. Brewers
Goldschmidt gave Cardinals fans a taste of what might come over the next six years in his second game in a Cardinals jersey. With three home runs against the Brewers in the Cardinals’ 9-5 win, Goldschmidt became the 11th Cardinal to homer three times in one game, and his 13 total bases are tied for fifth most in franchise history. He joined Stan Musial, Mark Whiten, Albert Pujols and Matt Carpenter as the only Cardinals to finish a game with four hits, three homers and five RBIs.
5) Edman shocks Seattle
July 3 vs. Mariners
Tommy Edman burst onto the scene this season and came up with more than a few clutch hits as he found playing time all around the field. In the Cardinals’ 5-2 win in Seattle, Edman launched the go-ahead, three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning -- just a day after he struck out swinging in a similar situation with the game on the line. It was one of many memorable moments for the rookie, who eventually landed a starting role at third base and made other appearances at second base and in the outfield.
6) The Mexico Series
April 13-14 vs. Reds
Except for playing in the Major League cities of Toronto and Montreal, the Cardinals had never played internationally before participating in MLB’s 2019 Mexico Series. They split the two-game series with the Reds, and it was the little things that made it a special weekend at the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. After Ozuna launched two home runs in the Cardinals’ 9-5 win on April 14, the Cardinals remained on the field, saluted the local fans and spun their hats into the crowd.
7) Hudson and company’s near-no-no
Aug. 19 vs. Brewers
The only hit the Cardinals pitching staff allowed in their 3-0 win against the Brewers was Yasmani Grandal’s two-out, eighth-inning double off Giovanny Gallegos. Dakota Hudson -- who didn’t even know he had a no-hitter going until he exited to hugs from his teammates -- silenced Milwaukee through 6 2/3 innings before Gallegos took over, but the victory did more than flirt with history. It was the Cardinals’ eighth win in 10 games and put the them in sole possession of first place in the division in a critical time of the season. It was also another win in Hudson’s stellar season, in which he lead all rookie starters with 16 wins.
8) Flaherty continues his dominance
Sept. 3 vs. Giants
Jack Flaherty was the best pitcher in baseball in the second half, and almost all off his starts could be top moments. But his one-hit effort against the Giants was perhaps the most dominant. Flaherty struck out eight and walked just one over eight innings and 113 pitches. It was his first start after he won NL Pitcher of the Month in August, and he made the case for winning in September, too. The Cardinals won, 1-0, reversing the score from their 1-0 loss to the Giants back on July 7 -- the start right before the All-Star break that began Flaherty’s run of success.
9) Carpenter’s walk-off
May 31 vs. Cubs
There weren’t many highlights in May, when the Cardinals won just nine games. But the last game of the month was a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Cubs in 10 innings, thanks to Carpenter’s game-winning single that was placed perfectly in left field with the bases loaded. It kicked off a critical sweep of the Cubs -- which wouldn’t be the only time in 2019 -- and put the Cardinals on the right track toward a new month, leaving May behind.
10) Vintage Wainwright
June 2 vs. Cubs
Adam Wainwright had his share of vintage performances in the regular season and postseason this year. But he first turned back the clock on June 2 in the Cardinals’ 2-1 win to complete the sweep over the Cubs at Busch Stadium. He allowed just two hits over eight innings and threw 126 pitches -- his most since Aug. 23, 2013. His effort was capped by a stellar catch from Wong on Wainwright’s 126th pitch of the day with two runners on and two outs.