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Cardinals' top 10 homers of the decade

December 26, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- From a certain Game 6 to emotional grand slams, Cardinal players hit memorable home runs over the last decade. There was even one by a former Cardinal: In his return to Busch Stadium in June, Albert Pujols launched a homer to left field and received a huge

ST. LOUIS -- From a certain Game 6 to emotional grand slams, Cardinal players hit memorable home runs over the last decade.

There was even one by a former Cardinal: In his return to Busch Stadium in June, Albert Pujols launched a homer to left field and received a huge standing ovation (one of many that weekend) from fans.

Walk-off blasts and game-winning launches have been a big part of the last decade in St. Louis. For our final decade story, let’s look at the top home runs of the 2010s:

1) Game 6 of World Series
Oct. 27, 2011

There’s no question about No. 1. David Freese’s walk-off homer in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series -- that epic, solo shot to dead center field in the 11th inning -- gave the Cardinals a 10-9 victory over the Rangers and sent the series to Game 7, which St. Louis also won for its 11th World Series title. Freese’s homer is unmatched, and so was the call that came as it landed in the grass -- Freese’s Lawn, as some call it now -- over the center-field wall: “We will see you tomorrow night.” If there was a top triples list for the decade, Freese would be No. 1 for that, too, because his triple in the bottom of the ninth tied the game and set up his epic home run. Don’t you still get chills? Watch here.

2) Adams’ 3-run shot vs. Kershaw
Oct. 7, 2014

One enormous swing from “Big City” pushed the Cardinals into the National League Championship Series in 2014. In Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, they were facing Clayton Kershaw for the second time that series. Just like in Game 1, Kershaw had complete control. And just like in Game 1, the Cardinals mounted a comeback, devastating Kershaw. In the seventh inning, the Dodgers held a 2-0 lead, but Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Then Matt Adams stepped to the plate. On the second pitch, he hammered the ball to right field. Once it landed in the stands, Adams jumped up and down while running to first base, and he got a curtain call from the fans. The Cardinals won, 3-2, and beat the Dodgers in four games.

3) Wong’s walk-off
Oct. 12, 2014

Just a few days after Adams' home run got the Cardinals to the NLCS, Kolten Wong made sure they stayed in the series with the Giants. After San Francisco took a 1-0 series lead, they scored in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch from Trevor Rosenthal to take the lead in Game 2. But it didn’t last long. Wong, one of two Cardinals rookies with clutch home runs this day, took a strike from Sergio Romo before hitting a slicing line drive into the corner of the right-field bleachers. Busch Stadium erupted. The Cardinals dugout exploded. Wong raced around the bases with his arms lifted, and his teammates shredded his jersey when he crossed home plate. Momentum was on the Cardinals side going to San Francisco, although the Giants eventually won the NLCS and the World Series that year. Watch Wong’s homer here.

4) Holliday’s final blast
Sept. 30, 2016

Matt Holliday hit 156 home runs over his eight years in St. Louis. His last one was perhaps the most memorable. In 2016, the Cardinals informed Holliday that they weren’t going to exercise his option for the next year. So in the final series of the season, the team activated him from the injured list in hopes of giving the veteran outfielder an opportunity to salute the Busch Stadium faithful with one final appearance. That chance came in the form of a pinch-hit at-bat in the Cardinals’ 7-0 win over the Pirates, and Holliday penned a storybook ending. With the crowd already giving him a rousing ovation and with tears in his eyes, he launched an opposite-field shot into the Cardinals’ bullpen. His teammates greeted him at the plate and in the dugout, and Holliday gave the crowd one last tip of the cap. It wasn’t his last at-bat with St. Louis -- that happened the next day -- but it was an emotional moment in Holliday’s final games wearing a Cardinals uniform.

5) Pujols’ third homer in Game 3 of World Series
Oct. 22, 2011

Pujols’ third home run in the Cardinals’ 16-7 stomping of the Rangers in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series was the cherry on top of his performance for the ages. In the top of the ninth inning with two outs, the slugger crushed a solo shot and etched his name in the record books. At that time, Pujols was the third player in history to homer three times in a World Series game, joining Babe Ruth -- who did it twice -- and Reggie Jackson. Pablo Sandoval joined this group in ‘12. Pujols’ 14 total bases set a new World Series record, while his five hits and six RBIs tied records. The ‘11 season was Pujols’ last in a Cardinal jersey, after 11 unrivaled years. One of his final acts, the best single game ever in World Series history, was a fitting ending. Watch here.

6) Carpenter’s third at Wrigley Field
July 20, 2018

By the sixth inning of the Cardinals’ 18-5 win over the Cubs, Matt Carpenter had made history. His third home run of the day was a three-run shot over Jason Heyward’s head and into the top of the ivy at Wrigley Field. It made Carpenter the second Cardinal behind Pujols, who did it exactly 14 years earlier, to hit three home runs in a single game against the Cubs. Carpenter went 5-for-5 that day, including two doubles, which made him the first Cardinal and second Major League player to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game.

7) Peralta’s game-winner at Wrigley
July 8, 2015

Hoping to avoid a sweep by the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Cardinals were desperate for a comeback victory. Peralta provided the jolt. Cubs closer Pedro Strop was handed a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, and he opened the inning without issue. He retired two batters on five pitches, but then issued a four-pitch walk to Carpenter. After fouling off a fastball, Peralta saw two straight sliders and a sinker over the middle of the plate. He hammered it to left field to give the Cardinals a 6-5 lead and eventual win, completely stunning the Chicago crowd and elating the St. Louis dugout. Watch here.

8) Taveras’ pinch-hit playoff homer
Oct. 12, 2014

Before Wong could win Game 2 of the NLCS with his walk-off, the Cardinals needed to tie it. That happened in the seventh inning, when Oscar Taveras pinch-hit for Carlos Martínez, down 3-2. Taveras, who had homered in his Major League debut, launched the fourth pitch he saw deep into the right-field stands, tying the game and helping set up Wong’s homer two innings later. He drew a curtain call from Cardinals fans after his home run, which tragically came in his final at-bat at Busch Stadium. Taveras died in a car accident later that October at 22 years old. Watch here.

9) Díaz’s emotional grand slam
Sept. 27, 2016

Aledmys Díaz didn’t want to get on the plane back to St. Louis to play this game, but he knew his childhood best friend would have wanted him to go. So after spending the day in Miami, where he mourned the loss of Marlins pitcher José Fernández, Díaz returned ready to pay tribute to his friend who had died in a boating accident a few days earlier. Díaz’s fourth-inning grand slam was one of the ways the Cardinals rookie honored Fernández, lifting his arms to the sky as he reached home plate. Díaz, who grew up a few houses away from Fernández in Santa Clara, Cuba, embraced his teammates in the dugout and tipped his cap to the fans saluting him and to the sky.

10) DeJong follows Yadi’s lead
Sept. 21, 2019

In the third game of the Cardinals’ four-game sweep at Wrigley Field in September, Chicago and St. Louis traded runs until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Cubs took the 8-7 lead on a solo homer. Chicago kept that lead until the top of the ninth, when closer Craig Kimbrel -- who allowed the game-winning homer in the 10th inning of the first game of the series -- entered. On Kimbrel’s first pitch, Yadier Molina ripped a homer to left-center. Tie game. On Kimbrel’s second pitch, Paul DeJong launched a solo shot to almost the same spot in left-center. Kimbrel was stunned as DeJong hopped around the bases. Molina didn’t have to go far to greet him at home plate -- the Cardinals catcher was barely back in the dugout when DeJong gave the St. Louis the lead and the 9-8 win.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.