Rookie outfielder John Rodriguez wasn't even in the Cardinals organization until midseason, and even after a trade to St. Louis he wasn't on the 40-man roster. Yet an amazing month at Triple-A Memphis, combined with injuries on St. Louis' big league squad, led to an opportunity for Rodriguez to play in the Majors for the first time. Rodriguez is checking in with MLB.com throughout the playoffs to share his experiences with readers in his first taste of the Major League playoffs.
Rodriguez struck out in his only plate appearance on Monday, but a few minutes later, he was celebrating with his teammates after Albert Pujols hit a game-winning three-run home run.
Oh my goodness. Let me just start off by saying that. Oh my goodness. God is great. God is beautiful. God is life. God put that bat in Pujols' hands in that situation, and told him, 'It's your time, son. Come through.' And he did. Wow.
It's my first year. I'm blessed just being here in the big leagues, and now I'm blessed to have this experience in the postseason. And now to see something like this... We're going to Game 6. I told you it was going to be a war. I just can't believe how loud the crowd was today, and then just to mute it with one swing of the bat is unbelievable.
I think I should have been a little bit more patient with the first strike. I should have let Lidge pitch a little bit. But the adrenaline was kicking in. I should have known a little bit better that I can't hit a two-run home run when there's nobody on base.
He threw some good pitches, but I think I got myself out. He didn't get me out. I got myself out. It happens. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't.
We heard the crowd all game. Grudzielanek's two-run hit, Pujols' three-run home run and the finish of the game, those were the three times that we didn't hear the crowd. It took three times for them to be quiet. It's unbelievable.
As soon as Albert hit it, I knew. It was a sigh of relief. Not too much, but a sigh of relief came out of us. We thought right away, 'Now we have a chance.' Izzy's on the mound. Let's wrap this up and take it back to St. Louis for Game 6. I'm just happy right now.
I'm speechless right now. All I know is we're going to Game 6 and God is beautiful.
John Rodriguez's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Matthew Leach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.