Saturday, July 21, 2012 - At Busch Stadium III (Jake Westbrook - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Chicago Cubs (Matt Garza - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 43,424
On September 16, 1926 - at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia - the Cardinals won both games of a double-header against the Phillies, by scores of 23-3 and 10-2. In that first game, the Redbirds established a franchise record by scoring twelve runs in a single inning. The details of that big third inning are not known, but we do know that for the full nine innings, the Cardinals amassed 22 hits, walked eight times, reached base on four Philadelphia errors, and stole seven bases. Of the 22 hits, the Cardinals had just four extra base hits - all doubles.
It would take another 13,475 regular season games for the Cardinals to score a dozen runs in a single inning again. And we do know all the details for this one.
Both starting pitchers - Jake Westbrook and Matt Garza - allowed nary a run. However, Garza made an early exit - leaving the game after just three innings pitched - apparently, some physical discomfort caused his removal. At any rate, reliever Justin Germano worked the next three innings, unscathed. His undoing would prove to be a slow roller down the third base line off the bat of David Freese - leading-off the bottom of the seventh-inning. Freese beat it out for a rare infield single - the first of ten hits the Cardinals would tally - and the only one allowed by the unfortunate Germano.
James Russell then came in from the Cubs' bullpen to face Jon Jay - who was retired on a botched bunt attempt. But then, pinch hitter Allen Craig (batting for Jake Westbrook, who improved to 8-8 after this win) hit the first of seven doubles the Redbirds would notch in the lucky seventh - a total that tied a major league record for two-base hits in a single inning.
With runners on second and third, Rafael Furcal drove in the first run of the game with a ground ball single into left field.
Skip Schumaker followed that up with a triple, to make it a 3-0 lead.
After Matt Holliday walked, Carlos Beltran scored Skip with a ground rule double down the right field line, which bounced into the stands, causing some poor guy to spill his beer all over himself - and he didn't even get the souvenir. It's now 4-0.
After Yadier Molina was intentionally walked to load the bases (sure, why not?), Russell got the second out of the inning when he induced Lance Berkman to popup to the second baseman.
Suddenly, another pitcher was summoned from the Cubs' bullpen - Manny Corpas - who would face four batters in rapid succession: Freese - a two-run double (6-0 now) - Jay - another two-run double (8-0) - Craig - his second double of the inning, which scored the last guy who doubled, to make it 9-0.
After Furcal walked, Rafael Dolis came in out of the pen, and held Schumaker to a single - although it did drive in another run (10-0).
The scoring concluded after Matt Holliday hit the record-tying seventh double - scoring Furcal and Schumaker with the 11th and 12th runs of the inning.
Although the scoring would end, the hilarity continued when Dolis struck out Beltran on a wild pitch - as Beltran reached first base, and Holliday ambled into third.
With a chance to re-write the record book, Matheny decided to give Molina the rest of the night off - sending Tony Cruz in to pinch hit - and he struck out on a non-wild pitch.
The inning was finally over - 17 batters and 37 minutes after it started.
The Cardinals finished with nine doubles - four shy of their own major league record for most two-base hits in a single game. It happened in the second game of a double header between the Cardinals and Cubs on July 12, 1931 - St Louis had 13 doubles - Chicago 10 doubles - the 23 combined doubles is also a major league record in a single game. The two teams combined for nine doubles in the first game of the double-header. The 32 doubles between two teams in a double-header also happens to be a major league record.
No other major league team had even hit as many as nine doubles in a single game since - until the historic night of July 21, 2012.