Braves Stun Cards in 9th, Take 2-1 NLDS Lead

Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson. Photo by Austin Mcafee/CSM/Shutterstock (10368398h)

After being shut out for the first 8 2/3 innings, the Braves came back to score 3 runs in the 9th and beat St. Louis at home, 3-1. The win put Atlanta one win away from advancing to the NLCS for the first time since 2001.

Despite injuries, pitching problems, and criticism for lack of hustle, the Braves team seems to be something special. The comeback win, after being down to their final out, is only the second time this happened in Brave’s playoff history. The first comeback win down to their final out was in the famous Game 7 NLCS against the Pirates, known as “The Slide.”

Adam Wainwright shutout the Braves for 7 2/3 innings striking out 8 and handing the ball over to his bullpen with a 1-0 lead. The Braves couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded opportunity in the 8th, and the game seemed like it would end in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel.

Josh Donaldson started off the 9th with a double down the left-field line, but closer Carlos Martinez struck out the next two batters, putting the Cardinals one out away and the crowd on their feet. An intentional walk to Brian McCann brought Dansby Swanson to the plate who played hero and drilled the game-tying double. Adam Duvall then hit a two-run single to center, putting Atlanta up 3-1 and stunning the St. Louis crowd.

Leading the series 2-1, the Braves now have a postseason series lead for the first time since the 2002 NLDS against the Giants. Their 31 consecutive playoff games without a series lead is an MLB record, but with a win in one of the next 2 games, they can reverse the franchise’s recent postseason struggles with a trip to the NLCS.