Friday, August 18, 2000 - At Busch Stadium II (Rick Ankiel - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Philadelphia Phillies (Robert Person - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 46,253
In a game that took an excruciating three hours and forty-three minutes to complete, the Cardinals rallied from a six run sixth-inning deficit to walk-off with a 7-6 win over the Phillies - thanks in large part to twelve walks issued by five different Philadelphia hurlers.
Cardinal starter Rick Ankiel had control issues of his own - walking three batters in 4.1 innings pitched. His trouble started in the fourth-inning when Philadelphia scored three times - the first run scoring on a bases loaded passed ball by backup catcher Carlos Hernandez, which preceded a two-run Kevin Jordan single.
Meanwhile, Phillies starter Wild Robert Person managed to keep the Cardinals scoreless on two hits through five innings, despite walking six batters. However, a high pitch count (111) prompted manager Terry Francona to go to the bullpen a bit early in this contest.
By that time, the Phillies had tacked on three more runs - two of which were charged to Ankiel - who was removed after loading the bases with one out in the fifth. Reliever Gene Stechschulte's first order of business was to walk the first batter he faced, to give Philly a 4-0 lead - then Lieberthal's sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
The lead was extended to six-zip on an Arias sacrifice fly in the sixth-inning. After that, the Cardinal bullpen restored order - while the Phillies' created calamity.
The Redbirds finally broke through with a run in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Wild Wayne Gomes. Fernando Tatis led-off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch - then scored on Edgar Renteria's ground out to the shortstop.
After Gomes walked Polanco leading off the seventh for St Louis, Francona went to the bullpen again - bringing in Wild Ed Vosberg to face Fernando Vina - who singled to left field. Next up - J.D. Drew - walked to load the bases for Jim Edmonds - who also walked, to make it a 6-2 game. After Will Clark struck out, Francona brought in Wild Vincente Padilla to walk in another run - Tatis had the honor on this particular bases loaded freebie. Ray Lankford then hit a sacrifice fly to put the Redbirds within two runs of tying this mess up.
Francona patiently let Padilla work his way through a two-run eighth-inning - which began with Hernandez hitting a ground ball to Scott Rolen at third - and the normally sure-handed Rolen couldn't find the handle - for a very costly error. After Polanco walked, Vina moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt - and Drew drove them in with a single back up the middle. Holy cow, the game was now tied - 6-6.
The fifth and final pitcher for Philadelphia - Wild Chris Brock - issued a one-out walk - the twelfth of the game by Phillies pitchers - to Ray Lankford - followed by pinch hitter Eric Davis' single to right field - advancing Lankford to third. Brock certainly didn't want to be the guy to walk the thirteenth batter in this game (it's bad luck) - so he threw strikes to Carlos Hernandez - who hit one of them safely into left field for the game winner - a walk-off winner - which seemed appropriate on a night that featured seventeen time-consuming walks between the two teams.
Jason Christiansen - the fifth St Louis pitcher in this game - got the final two outs in the top of the ninth to pick up the win (3-8). He didn't even walk anybody.
For the fans now filing out of the ballpark after witnessing a game that dragged on for nearly four hours - at least it was the weekend, so most of them could sleep late on Saturday.