Jon Jay joined two legendary St. Louis Cardinals Monday night by picking his team up with a big postseason game. Jay used his legs, glove and bat to help his teammates post a 12-4 win over the Washington Nationals to tie the Division Series at one game each. Before the game became a laugher, though, Jay provided his team with several highlights.
Like Willie McGee in Game 3 of the 1982 World Series and Jim Edmonds in Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS, Joy Jay used center field as his platform to shine in the postseason.
There were plenty of other stars as well. Carlos Beltran hit two home runs and drove in three. First baseman Allen Craig had three hits and crushed a home run into Busch Stadium's second deck.
Manager Mike Matheny also contributed with a gutsy call. With the team ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Matheny took out starting pitcher Jamie Garcia for a pinch-hitter. Garcia had struggled with his command in his two innings. Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker came through with an RBI groundout.
Regardless of how much help he got from his teammates, this night belonged to Jon Jay. Jay first came through in the Cardinals four-run second inning. Jay singled home the team's fourth run and was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. He also reached on an error and stole a base in the 4th inning.
But Jay's night was just getting started. In the top of the 6th inning, with St. Louis leading 7-3, Jay brought the crowd to its feet by racing into the left-center field gap and catching a drive off the bat of Danny Espinosa an instant before crashing face-first into the outfield wall. Somewhere Jim Edmonds was smiling.
In the bottom of the 8th the Cardinals led 8-4 and were looking to make the 9th inning more comfortable. With two outs and a runner at second, Jay came through with an RBI triple. The hit plated a run but also extended the inning and allowed Carlos Beltran to smack his second home run of the game.
One of the reasons I was so supportive of the midseason trade last year that sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto Blue Jays was the fact that it would open up center field for Jon Jay. Jay has been great this year. He hit .305 in the regular season and played the kind of center field that the pitching staff loves. If he keeps having games like he had Monday, the Cardinals figure to keep playing a few more weeks.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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- Jon Jay
- Carlos Beltran
- Jim Edmonds