One season ended, and with it, so did the careers of two future Hall of Famers.
But for Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, they did all they could to keep their team… and careers, going to see another day.
Molina, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, was the last hope.
Like Pujols in the eighth inning, Molina delivered a single in the ninth to get the tying run on base. Like Pujols, he was lifted for a pinch-runner. They were in the dugout when former teammate Edmundo Sosa caught a Tommy Edman pop up in foul territory to clinch the Phillies’ 2-0 victory and sweep of the National League Wild Card.
The sellout crowd of 48,515, the third-largest in Busch Stadium history, was at its flag-waving throatiest trying to keep the dream season of Pujols, Molina and the rest of the Cardinals alive. But instead, the offense was dormant, and the two biggest bats of all were nowhere to be found.
Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, were a combined zero-for-six with five strikeouts when a runner was on base Saturday. They were one-for-15 in the series with six strikeouts, and the one hit was Arenado’s single on Friday.
Lost in the nostalgia of Pujols, Molina, and Adam Wainwright is the fact that the Cardinals have struggled mightily in the postseason ever since they lost the 2013 World Series. In fact, St. Louis has now lost five straight playoff games and nine of their last ten. In their last three games facing elimination, they’ve scored zero, one, and zero runs. They are also 6-18 in their last 24 postseason games.
And to put it simply: they have plenty of work left to do.