While it probably doesn’t equal Ozzie Smith’s “Go crazy folks, go crazy!” homer in the 1985 NLCS, you’d be hard pressed to find a more unlikely and exciting home run than the one Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein hit on Sunday. Eckstein’s grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning gave St. Louis a series-clinching 5-3 win over Atlanta on Sunday at Busch Stadium.
Trailing 3-1, the Cardinals had just two hits coming into the ninth inning. Abraham Nunez led off with a single to center and So Taguchi followed up with a single to center to move Nunez over to second. Pinch hitter Hector Luna then reached on an infield single to load the bases. Scott Seabol lined out for the first out. Then Eckstein came to the plate and blasted a 1-0 pitch from Chris Reitsma over the left field fence to end the game.
It was the first game-winning grand slam, since Tommy Herr did it in a win over the Mets in 1987. But surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the first time Eckstein has ended the game with a bases-loaded homer. He did it with the Angels in 2002 against the Blue Jays. It was his fifth homer of the season.
Chris Carpenter fell short in his bid for his 17th win of the season, despite an eight-inning performance. He allowed two runs off four hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts. Both runs were solo homers from Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur.
Ray King (3-2) got the final in the top of the ninth to get the win.
The Cardinals took two out of three from the Braves and hold a ten-game advantage over the Astros as the leader of the N.L. Central.