Cardinals Advance to Division Series

The wild card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves lived up to its title. It was wild to say the least as the home team lost 6-3 to St. Louis with the help of a controversial call late in the game that infuriated the crowd and inspired a protest that was later denied by Major League Baseball.

Kris Medlen had never lost a game as a starter. Unfortunately for him and for the Bravos, he lost his first one at the worst possible time last night in the do-or-die game against St. Louis. The day and the loss were even harder to take for Braves fans, as it marked the last game in Chipper Jones’ career.

Things were looking up early on for Atlanta as David Ross homered to left-center field, scoring Dan Uggla to make it 2-0 Braves. However, those would be the only runs the Braves scored off Cardinals’ starter Kyle Lohse, as Atlanta went scoreless for five innings before tacking one off Edward Mujica.

The Cardinals got to Medlen early and often, scoring in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings. Medlen gave up five runs in all although only two were earned, however the damage was done and Atlanta failed to make the comeback.

The Braves protested the call, but to no avail

They did have a chance in the eighth inning. With two runners on base and with just one out and Andrelton Simmons popped one sky high that looked like a routine play for either the shortstop or left fielder. However, after some miscommunication and confusion, the ball dropped in between the fielders and it appeared that Atlanta now had a bases-loaded opportunity with just one out in the inning.

Not so fast.

Left-field umpire Sam Holbrook came in and ruled an infield fly, which resulted in Simmons being called out and the runners returning to first and second. Needless to say, it also resulted in the more than 52,000 Braves supporters getting very upset.

After realizing what had happened, the crowd littered the field with anything they get their hands on. Plastic beer cups, popcorn bags, drink holders and just about every kind of debris imaginable rained down on the turf. Play was stopped for nearly 20 minutes for the grounds crew to clean up the mess.

The crowd and the scene got ugly

“It was scary at first,” said St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in an espn.com article. “I’ve never seen that before.”

Holbrook stuck by his call and the league stood behind him, saying it was up to the judgment of the umpire.

“I ruled basically to disallow the protest based on the fact that it was an umpire’s judgment call,” said MLB executive Joe Torre.

The Cardinals will take the win, no matter what form it came in and will now move on to face the Washington Nationals in the ALDS, which begins tomorrow. The Nats will send out Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA) in game one and the Cards will give the ball to Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94 ERA). Washington will definitely have the edge in game one and will in the series as well. The Nats are currently 6/1 to win the World Series, while the Cardinals are 15/1. The Cardinals will make it a good series though, as they have one of the best offenses of any team left in the postseason. Look for the Nationals to cover -1.5 runs in game one and to win the series in four or five games.

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