From the big home runs and strikeouts to all the little plays in between, the Cardinals are doing everything right during their Modern Era franchise record 15-game win streak. And it was one of those little plays that came up huge during St. Louis’ 8-5 triumph over the Cubs for win No. 15 on Saturday.
The Cardinals led, 5-4, but the Cubs had runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the eighth when Rafael Ortega bounced a grounder to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. St. Louis’ Gold Glove Award winner fired home to catcher Yadier Molina to force David Bote, the potential game-tying run, into a rundown. Molina relayed to third baseman Nolan Arenado, who tagged Bote for the second out of the inning. Arenado then spun and fired to second baseman Tommy Edman, who threw back to Molina before the backstop found center fielder Harrison Bader charging into second base.
Bader joined the rundown and relayed the ball to shortstop Paul DeJong, who tagged Trayce Thompson to complete a bonkers inning-ending double play.
“It was a convergence of people being somewhere, including the outfielders,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said of the play postgame. “What I loved about it is that everybody was under control and aware of what was going on. [Edman] looks up, gets it back over to third and next thing you know, we’ve got a Harrison Bader sighting in the rundown -- and he’s right where he’s supposed to be. He gives it up, we get the out and that’s a huge play.”