10-spot: Cards oust Braves from NLDS with record 1st inning

Sports

October 9th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTA (AP) — With a stunning outburst their first time up, the St. Louis Cardinals scored 10 runs for the biggest opening inning in postseason history and dealt the Atlanta Braves another playoff heartbreak with a 13-1 rout in decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series on Wednesday.

Before many fans had reached their seats, the Cardinals were already booking their plans for the NL Championship Series, where they will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Washington Nationals in a best-of-seven set beginning Friday. Those teams were meeting in their own Game 5 at Dodger Stadium. It will be St. Louis’ first NLCS trip since 2014.

For the Braves, it might take a while to get over this debacle. After pitching seven scoreless innings in a Game 2 win, Mike Foltynewicz retired only one hitter before getting yanked. First baseman Freddie Freeman made a crucial error that might have limited the damage. The Cardinals scored their final run of the inning on a strikeout — a wild pitch in the dirt that skipped away from catcher Brian McCann.

It was Atlanta’s 10th straight postseason round loss since its last victory 18 long years ago, tying the ignominious mark set by the Chicago Cubs between 1908 and 2003. No team had ever scored 10-plus runs in the very first inning of a postseason game. It is the first time the Braves franchise has allowed that many first-inning runs in any game since the Boston Braves did it July 2, 1925 against the Brooklyn Robins.
CHOP CHOPPED
The Braves did not distribute their traditional red foam tomahawks to fans following criticism by St. Louis pitcher Ryan Helsley. The foam cutouts are used when Braves fans perform their Tomahawk Chop chant in games. The Braves said in a statement the change is “out of respect for the concerns” expressed by Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation who said he finds the chant insulting.