SAN DIEGO -- For the second time in seven months, the Cardinals visit San Diego for a three-game series this weekend.
It has the makings of a thrilling showdown between two legit NL contenders. But it'll be awfully hard to top last postseason's three-game Wild Card Series thriller.
San Diego's first postseason series in 14 years was an instant classic. As a refresher course for that series, here are the 10 most memorable Padres moments, ranked:
10. Adams gets Goldy
St. Louis didn't offer much offensively in a decisive Game 3 -- which the Padres won, 4-0. But the Cardinals' best chance came in the fifth inning, when they put two men on with two outs against a tiring Adrian Morejon. The Padres turned to Austin Adams -- an enigma acquired at the Trade Deadline who had only recently returned from the injured list. Adams, whose slider can be unhittable against righties, was acquired to get tough right-handed hitters out in the playoffs. Sure enough, Adams struck out Paul Goldschmidt. End of threat.
9. Hosmer breaks through
In the bottom half of that very frame, Eric Hosmer broke a 0-0 deadlock with an opposite-field RBI double, and the Padres exhaled. They had their lead, and their lockdown bullpen would protect it.
8. Myers makes history
In a back-and-forth Game 2 that finished 11-9, Wil Myers made history with his second home run of the night. Fernando Tatis Jr. had already gone deep twice. When Myers joined him, they became only the second pair of teammates with multiple home runs in the same postseason game -- joining Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
7. Tatis the acrobat
Tatis changed the series with his bat. But he made things happen with his glove, too. In a scoreless Game 3, Kolten Wong bounced a chopper back to the mound, where Padres reliever Tim Hill fielded and threw wide to second base. With Harrison Bader sliding hard, Tatis leapt and acrobatically avoided Bader while stretching to make the catch and somehow keeping his foot on the bag.
6. Stammen's unlikely start
With Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger lost to injuries, the Padres didn't have a starter on their roster for Game 3. So they turned to veteran reliever Craig Stammen to make his first start in 10 years. Stammen -- one of the unlikeliest starting pitchers for a decisive playoff game in baseball history -- pitched 1 2/3 scoreless frames, before turning it over to the bullpen. His bullpen.
5. Myers keeps it fair
There would be home runs that were more memorable and more historic than this one. But in the moment, it was hard to envision anything much more dramatic than this. The Padres, facing elimination, brought their longest-tenured player to the plate in a tie game in the seventh. Myers sent a line drive into the left-field corner. It hooked sharply -- but not sharply enough. The ball stayed just fair, and Myers put the Padres in front with a homer off the Western Metal Supply Co. building.
4. Rosenthal wraps a historic bullpen day
Stammen started it. Adams got the biggest out. Trevor Rosenthal finished it. The Padres bullpen turned in a performance for the ages, with nine relievers combining to pitch scoreless ball -- the most pitchers used in a nine-inning shutout in recorded history.
3. Tatis and Machado go back-to-back
For a game and a half, this three-game series didn't feel anything like an instant classic. Quite the opposite. The Padres were beaten handily in Game 1 and trailed by four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2. But with Tatis and Machado in the middle of your lineup, you're never really out of it, are you? Tatis sent a three-run homer into the left field seats, cutting the deficit to one. One batter later, Machado tied it with a majestic solo blast beyond the first section of seats in left. The game was tied at 6.
2. The bat flip
Tatis says this wasn't his all-time greatest bat flip. He gives that honor to a home run celebration while playing for Estrellas Orientales in his native Dominican Republic. But, man, it's hard to top the swagger Tatis exhibited after his opposite-field two-run home run gave the Padres a 9-6 lead in Game 2. He took one step, then unleashed a monumental flip with five full rotations. It was the type of moment that perfectly encapsulates what Tatis is about.
1. The celebration
The scene was surreal. The Padres, winners of their first playoff series in 22 years, were left with an empty stadium to celebrate in. That didn't stop the city from whole-heartedly embracing its team. Car horns blared and pots and pans clanged from fans on nearby balconies. After a brief moment of exuberance near the home dugout, the Padres emerged in right field -- the area visible to the rooftops and balconies in downtown San Diego. Jurickson Profar and Fernando Tatis Jr. waved a Padres flag emblazoned with the No. 10 -- an ode to the fans at home serving as the de facto 10th man. The noise in the East Village wouldn’t stop until approximately 90 minutes after the final out.