The day Taveras showed the Cards what might have been
By Brett Wolf
ST LOUIS Missouri (Reuters) - It was a magical night as the St. Louis Cardinals rediscovered some of the mighty mojo that carried the team to a World Series championship in 2011. A night when it seemed another prolific home run hitter had been born.
It was Oct. 12, the top of the seventh inning in Game Two of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) when Oscar Taveras hit what would be his last major league home run and only post-season homer - a line drive to right field that would bring the capacity crowd at Busch Stadium to their feet.
The team had for years hyped Taveras as a top prospect with power that might rival that of former Cardinal Albert Pujols, but his major-league debut season was by all honest accounts a disappointment.
So when Taveras drove a solo shot off Giants reliever Jean Machi to tie Game Two at 3-3 with one of his trademark sweeping swings, fans pumped their fists for the emergence of a hero whose arrival they had long awaited.
It is a destiny Cardinals fans have been left to wonder and mourn after Taveras was killed tragically on Sunday night in a car crash while playing winter baseball in his native Dominican Republic.
Down 1-0 in the series and trailing 3-2 in Game Two Taveras entered the contest as a pinch-hitter for Carlos Martinez and immediately slammed a shot over the right field wall to spark a rally.
Matt Adams would add a solo shot in the eighth and Kolten Wong a dramatic walkoff homer in the ninth to give the Cardinals a heart-stopping 5-4 victory.
It was the only game of the NLCS the Cardinals would win as the Giants went on to dominate the best-of-seven series 4-1 and advance to the World Series. Continued...