The St. Louis Cardinals' club-record 17-game winning streak from Sept. 11-28 was an amazing run, and it featured its fair share of memorable moments. With the streak coming to an end on Wednesday, we asked Cardinals fans to vote for their favorite moment from the Run of '21.
On both Twitter and Instagram, Cardinals fans selected the bizarre 3-2-5-4-2-8-6 double play the Cardinals turned in their club-record-breaking 15th straight victory.
Left-hander T.J. McFarland, a master of inducing double plays, took his skills to the next level in the eighth inning of the Cards' Sept. 25 win over the Cubs. With one out and the potential tying run on third, McFarland got Rafael Ortega to hit a grounder to first base. An alert and well-positioned Paul Goldschmidt threw home to Yadier Molina, who caught David Bote in a rundown as he tried to score from third on a ground ball. Molina threw to Nolan Arenado, who tagged out Bote before throwing to Tommy Edman. After Ortega tried to take an extra base, both he and Trayce Thompson — who began the play at first base — got caught in rundowns, and Thompson was eventually tagged out in what went down as a 3-2-5-4-2-8-6 double play. The Cardinals held on for an 8-5 victory, their 15th in a row, breaking the club record previously held by the 1935 club.
Here are 10 more great moments from the Cardinals' incredible winning streak:
Sept. 11, Cardinals 6, Reds 4: Arenado's eighth-inning homer lifts Cards to victory — Heading into play on Sept. 11, the Cardinals' season was on the brink. They sat at 71-69, 3.5 games out of the second NL wild card spot with 22 games to play. Things didn't get off to a great start, as Jonathan India and Nick Castellanos hit two-run homers in the third inning to get the Reds out to a 4-0 lead. A Paul DeJong solo blast and an Edman RBI single narrowed Cincinnati's lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third, and Arenado and Dylan Carlson each drove in a run to tie it up in the sixth.
Arenado provided the heroics in the eighth, hitting a two-run homer to left field off Reds reliever Lucas Sims for his 30th of the season. That blast proved to be the difference in the Cards' victory — their first of 17 in a row.
Sept. 14, Cardinals 7, Mets 6 (11 innings): Sosa, Knizner lead Cardinals' 11th-inning rally — The ninth-inning issues that plagued the Cardinals in late August and early September popped up again in the second game of their series with the Mets, as Giovanny Gallegos gave up a game-tying homer to Javier Báez on the first pitch of the ninth. He kept the Mets off the board for the rest of the frame, though, sending the game to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th, Edmundo Sosa started an 11th-inning rally with a tiebreaking base hit. Andrew Knizner later added on with a two-run single that proved to be the difference in the Cards' fourth straight victory, as Kwang Hyun Kim allowed two runs in the bottom of the 11th but was able to hang on for the save.
Sept. 15, Cardinals 11, Mets 4: Nootbaar robs Alonso of a home run — It's hard to make your team's best defensive play of the year when you're teammates with Arenado and Harrison Bader, but Lars Nootbaar may have accomplished that difficult feat as the Cardinals beat the Mets for their fifth straight win. With two runners on base in the seventh, fearsome slugger Pete Alonso thought he had a homer that would've brought the Mets within one run. But the rookie outfielder extended his glove over the right-field fence, robbing Alonso and preserving the Cards' four-run lead.
Sept. 18, Cardinals 3, Padres 2: O'Neill homer caps comeback on 2011 reunion day — It was a picture-perfect night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals entered the game having won six straight, the 2011 World Series team was in the house for its 10-year reunion and one of the biggest crowds of the season packed the ballpark. San Diego took the first lead of the night with a pair of RBI singles off Adam Wainwright in the fourth, and they still led 2-0 entering the eighth inning.
Edman drove in Bader with a sacrifice fly to put the Cardinals on the board. After Padres reliever Emilio Pagán walked Goldschmidt, Tyler O'Neill made him pay with a two-run homer into the visitors' bullpen. It proved to be the deciding hit in a victory that extended the Cards' streak to seven games.
Sept. 20, Cardinals 5, Brewers 2: Lester wins his 200th game — By Sept. 20, the Cardinals certainly had established themselves as a legitimate threat, carrying an eight-game winning streak and a three-game lead over the Reds for the second NL wild-card spot. However, as they began a four-game series with the first-place Brewers, they certainly weren't yet in a position where they could feel totally secure. Trade deadline acquisition Jon Lester helped them kick off that series with a bang by throwing six strong innings, allowing two earned runs on just three hits and no walks. Arenado hit a two-run homer and Molina had a pair of RBI singles to support the veteran lefty as he earned his 200th career win. In perhaps the most entertaining moment of the night, Lester — famously not a hugger — was treated to a hug line in celebration of his milestone victory.
Sept. 22, Cardinals 10, Brewers 2: Bader scores from second on sac fly — The Cardinals' 11th straight victory was never really in doubt, but Bader provided one of the most entertaining athletic feats of the season when he tagged up from second and scored on Edman's sacrifice fly, turning it into a two-run productive out after Sosa scored from third. It brought back memories of a similar play from the 1982 World Series — one that also, strangely enough, came against the Brewers.
Sept. 23, Cardinals 8, Brewers 5: Cards rally back from 5-0 deficit, complete sweep of Brewers — It would've been fair to feel like the Cardinals' 11-game winning streak was nearing an end when Tyrone Taylor hit a grand slam off Wainwright in the first inning of a Thursday afternoon matchup with the Brewers. Even after Taylor went deep off Wainwright a second time in the fourth, the resilient Cardinals didn't back down. Molina put them on the board with an RBI single in the fifth, then the Cards tied it in the seventh as Sosa scored on Edman's RBI groundout, Bader scored on an error and Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer.
Arenado charged home on a passed ball to break the 5-5 tie in the eighth, Carlson scored on Molina's sac fly later that inning and Goldschmidt hit another homer in the ninth as the Cardinals extended their streak to 12 games and completed an incredible four-game sweep of the first-place Brewers.
Sept. 24 (Game 2), Cardinals 12, Cubs 4: Nootbaar homers twice in slugfest — After beating the Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader and pushing their winning streak to 13 straight, the Cardinals faced a challenge in the nightcap as they brought back Jack Flaherty for his first appearance since Aug. 24 and Dakota Hudson for his first outing since last September. While Flaherty allowed two earned runs in 0.2 innings and Hudson gave up two in 3.2 frames, the Cardinals picked up the returning right-handers with five homers in seven innings, including two from Nootbaar. O'Neill, DeJong and Bader also went deep as the Redbirds won their 14th in a row, tying the 1935 Cardinals' record for the longest streak in franchise history.
Sept. 26, Cardinals 4, Cubs 2: Cards complete comeback, overcome infield fly fiasco — This was another day where it looked for a long while as though the win streak might be nearing a conclusion. The Cubs led 2-1 entering the eighth inning, but Bader hit a solo homer off former Cardinals prospect Rowan Wick to tie it with two outs in the eighth. Cubs reliever Codi Heuer fell apart in the top of the ninth, intentionally walking the bases loaded with one out and then throwing a wild pitch that allowed Knizner to score the go-ahead run.
The Cardinals initially thought they had turned a game-ending double play in the bottom of the ninth. Third-base umpire Gabe Morales called the infield fly rule as Frank Schwindel popped up, but Cubs runners Austin Romine and Rafael Ortega — thinking it was a live ball — took off running. Arenado, who had slipped trying to catch the pop-up, threw to DeJong, who was covering third, then DeJong threw to Edman to complete the would-be double play. Game over? No, there were no force plays because Schwindel had been called out on the infield fly rule. Ortega, however, had been called out by an umpire who didn't realize the infield fly rule had been called. Thinking he was out, Ortega moved off the bag and was tagged by Edman. Game over? No, Ortega was ruled safe because of the confusion with an umpire mistakenly calling him out. The game was delayed for several minutes thereafter as Goldschmidt and manager Mike Shildt argued with umpires — Shildt was ultimately ejected — but Giovanny Gallegos was unfazed and struck out Ian Happ for the final out after play resumed.
Sept. 28, Cardinals 6, Brewers 2: Waino gets the win as Cards clinch playoff berth — The Cardinals capped off their 17-game winning streak by punching their ticket to the playoffs for a third straight season. Carlson, Arenado and José Rondón homered and O'Neill had a tiebreaking single as the Cardinals beat the Brewers for the fifth time during the streak. Wainwright — the starter who has been so instrumental in keeping the Redbirds afloat this season — delivered a quality start, allowing two earned runs over six innings and picking up his 17th victory of the season.