For the sixth time this season, the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated a walk-off victory as Yairo Munoz knocked a Felipe Vazquez pitch 410 feet onto the centerfield grass for the 10-8 win over Pittsburgh tonight.
“When I stepped up to the plate, I said this is my moment,” shared Munoz. “I just want to narrow the strike zone to a pitch that I can handle. I can hit it to the outfield so I can bring the run in on third base. My goal was to bring the run in from third base.”
The five runs driven in on the day is a career high for Munoz, who also saw his RBI total double to 10 for the season.
Early on the Cardinals had a 4-0 lead as Munoz and Dexter Fowler each drove in a pair of runs in the 1st inning. The Pirates chipped away against starter Jack Flaherty before a Josh Bell two-run homer tied the game in the 5th inning, but the Cardinals responded in the bottom half of the inning as Greg Garcia drove in Fowler.
The score remained 5-4 until the 8th inning when Pittsburgh scored four runs off the combination of Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris.
The 9th inning heroics began with a lead-off double from Harrison Bader.
“I just got on base, there’s still a game to be played,” said Bader of his approach. “We’ve been in that situation before. Down three runs, you’ve just got to put the ball in play and pass the baton.”
Tommy Pham then reached first on a fielding error and Marcell Ozuna walked to load the bases. That brought up Luke Voit, who was recalled earlier in the day in part due to his pinch-hitting ability. He didn’t disappoint, sending a line drive into left center to score two runs and make it 8-7.
“I learned a lot last year in preparing myself for those situations, always be ready,” said Voit, who hit .303 (10-33) as pinch-hitter last year for St. Louis.
“I stayed down there with Billy (Mueller). Kept fresh and was hoping I was going to get an opportunity to help the team win. I’ve had a rough start to the season and to get that, a fresh start going was an unbelievable feeling. And for Munoz to do that, man, that was an unbelievable way to kick off the series.”
Munoz then walked it off on the first pitch he saw.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports