NEW YORK -- The Cardinals have a reason to be fired up after Tuesday's game against Mets at Citi Field. They moved up in the National League Wild Card standings after beating New York, 7-6, in 11 innings.
St. Louis is a half-game ahead of the Reds and one game ahead of the Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot.
“We are looking at the windshield, not the rearview mirror,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We look at what's ahead. We’ve been doing that anyway, quite honestly. We just play our game. We go out and take care of business every night.”
It was a game that went back and forth and was exciting from the start. That excitement peaked in the 11th when the Cardinals took a lead they would not relinquish.
With runners on first and third and right-hander Jake Reed on the mound, Edmundo Sosa broke a 4-4 tie by hitting a hanging slider to left field, scoring Yadier Molina. Sosa credits José Rondón for his success in that particular at-bat.
“That at-bat started when I was on-deck,” Sosa said through interpreter Antonio Mujica. “I was looking at [Rondón] and the way [he was going] through his at-bat. He played pretty short to the ball and hit it the other way. That was the same mindset that I had. I was able to put a good swing [to the ball] and the ball was able to slip by.”
Two batters later, with runners at second and third, Andrew Knizner, the final position player on the bench, singled up the middle to drive in Rondón and Sosa.
“Kniz didn’t try to do too much. He got a pitch up he could do something with. It was a huge two-run single,” Shildt said. “Almost a complete 100 percent team effort tonight.”
“It says a lot about this team,” Sosa said. “When we are in this clubhouse, everyone is rooting for each other. … When we are out there, we are taking everything inning by inning. We are giving our best on the field. We hope everybody is enjoying what’s going on.”
It seemed St. Louis had a comfortable lead, but the Mets made a comeback attempt before falling short against Cardinals left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim, who picked up his first save of the season. It was Kim’s first appearance since Sept. 7.
“Just your run-of-the-mill 11th inning,” Shildt joked. “[Kim] was tremendous. Let’s give this guy some credit. He hasn’t pitched in a while. He’s just sitting there ready to go. We had to get a few extra outs in that inning. He made a lot of quality pitches, man.”
The Cardinals have won six out their last seven games and improved their record to 75-69.
“Right now, we are taking it day to day,” Sosa said. “Every time, we try to focus on that day’s game where everyone is on the same ship, pulling in the same direction. So it’s pretty nice how everything is turning out. We are looking forward to continuing that stretch.”