Atlanta Braves, MLB Postseason, St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals score 10 runs in comically-bad first inning by Braves in Game 5

St. Louis jumps on Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz and give starter Jack Flaherty a 10-run lead after one inning of decisive NLDS Game 5.

The record will show that Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS lasted a full nine innings, but anyone who remembers this game will know that it was over in the top of the first.

The St. Louis Cardinals erupted for nine runs off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz before two outs were made and ended the inning with a history-making 10-run outburst that practically ended the competitive portion of this game before fans were settled into their seats.

Foltynewicz had dominated the Cardinals lineup in Game 2, throwing a shutout over seven innings and holding St. Louis to just three hits. He didn’t walk a batter back on Friday, but on Wednesday that changed quickly as Dexter Fowler drew a leadoff walk on a close 3-2 pitch. The next batter, Kolten Wong, sacrificed Fowler to second before Paul Goldschmidt reached on an infield single.

That brought up Marcell Ozuna, already with eight hits in the series, with two runners on. He added another hit to his tally, slapping a low slider to right field to drive in Fowler and open the scoring for the Cardinals, already more offense than they managed off Foltynewicz the first time around.

After Ozuna, Yadier Molina hit a sharp liner to first baseman Freddie Freeman who bobbled it trying to turn a double play, loading the bases. Matt Carpenter drew the second walk of the inning to score Goldschmidt before Tommy Edman doubled to right to bring in Ozuna and Molina.

Foltynewicz was mercifully removed after an intentional walk to Paul DeJong, recording just one out while giving up three hits and leaving the bases loaded.

Max Fried fared no better. He walked opposing pitcher Jack Flaherty to bring home Carpenter. Fowler, batting for the second time in the inning, then doubled to score Edman and DeJong. When Wong drove in Flaherty and Fowler with another double, the Cardinals set a new postseason record by scoring nine runs in the first inning.

They weren’t done yet, though. After Goldschmidt flied out to right for the elusive second out of the inning, Fried finally solved Ozuna and got him to swing and miss for strike three. The ball, however, got away from catcher Brian McCann, allowing Ozuna to reach first and Wong to come home with the 10th run of the inning. It came to an end 26 minutes after it began when Molina grounded out to third amid sarcastic cheers from the Braves fans at SunTrust Park.

The 10 runs the Cardinals scored ties the all-time postseason record for runs in an inning, joining the 2002 Angels and 1929 Athletics. Foltynewicz added his name to a list of pitchers who only lasted 0.1 innings in a winner-take-all game that includes only six others, the last being Luis Severino in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game.

Flaherty, who might have expected to be in a pitching duel when the game began, retired the side in the bottom half of the inning by working around a base hit and a walk. The Cardinals right-hander has given up 10 runs combined since Aug. 18 and finished the year with the third-best second-half ERA (0.91) since 1934.

The Cardinals would add another run in the second inning and currently lead 11-0. There’s still 24 outs to get, but they can start getting ready for the Dodgers or Nationals in the NLCS already.

Next: Joe Maddon is the perfect manager for Shohei Ohtani

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