Prior to Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals had played 11,871 regular-season games in the last three-quarters of a
century, winning 6,399 of them. But only nine of those, or about one in every
1,300 contests, ended with a Cardinals grand slam.
On Sunday, it became
All Aaron Miles needed in the
bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium was a fly ball
to chase Albert Pujols home from third base. The 5-5 tie with San Diego was there to be
broken and would give the St. Louis Cardinals an unlikely four-game sweep of the
visiting Padres. It would be his team’s 57th win in their first 100
games this season.
A win would also move his club
within two games of the first-place Chicago Cubs and keep the Cardinals perfect
since the All-Star break, with important momentum established heading into a
four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers, right behind them in the National League
Central standings. In an important measurement to manager Tony La Russa, his
team would reach 14 games over .500 for the first time in
Miles did his part and more,
slamming a home run into the right field bullpen. The bases-clearing shot off
Padres reliever Bryan Corey turned what could have been a demoralizing loss into
yet another come-from-behind victory, this one by a 9-5 score.
Only in the wacky world of MLB
could Jason Isringhausen be credited with a hold despite allowing three hits in
the ninth inning. One run scored while he was in there and the then-game tying
run was his responsibility when it scored on a double against Brad Thompson. For
his efforts, Thompson earned a blown save and a gift win.
Miles wouldn't let it end on a down note, however. His
game-ending feat was just the tenth Cardinals walk-off grand slam in the last 75
years and the third time in four seasons. Prior to that, almost twenty years had
transpired since its last occurrence.
The other nine big hitters range
from the familiar – Pepper Martin and David Eckstein, to the obscure – Joe Hague
and Roger Freed. Cardinals greats such as Stan Musial, Mark McGwire and Albert
Pujols are among those noticeably absent.
Cardinals walk-off grand slams
7/14/1936 9 Dodgers 7-7 Pepper Martin HR 4 11-7
9 SF 3-3 Joe Cunningham HR 4 7-3
8/11/1970 9 SD 6-10 Carl Taylor HR 4
9/24/1971 10 Mon 6-6 Joe Hague HR 4 10-6
5/1/1979 11 Hou 3-6 Roger
Freed HR 4 7-6
7/18/1984 11 SF 4-4 Darrell Porter HR 4 8-4
NYM 7-8 Tommy Herr HR 4 12-8
8/7/2005 9 Atl 1-3 David Eckstein HR 4
8/27/2006 9 ChC 6-6 Gary Bennett HR 4 10-6
7/20/2008 9 SD 5-5 Aaron
Miles HR 4 9-5
Sunday was not the first time
Miles had a game-winning hit in the last at-bat, but neither previous occurrence
was a walk-off hit.
Miles Game Winning Last At-Bat Hits
On the Road
7/9/2006 12 Hou 5-5 Aaron Miles 2B 2 7-5
Bottom of the 8th at
8/21/2007 8 Fla 1-2 Aaron Miles 1B 1
Note: A special thanks to reader Tom
Orf for pulling the historical walk-off and game-winning data featured
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at email@example.com.
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