New acquisition's pinch-hit single lifts Cards over Rockies on Sunday
By David Cobb
ST. LOUIS -- When Brandon Moss came to the plate as a pinch-hitter with one out in the ninth and runners on first and third in a tie game, he knew it would be difficult to lift a ball to the outfield for a sacrifice fly against Rockies reliever Scott Oberg.
After seeing three fastballs from the hard-throwing righty, the left-handed-hitting Moss also decided that pulling the ball would be a challenge, so he took advantage of one of the few remaining options.
Moss poked a ground ball through the left side to score Jason Heyward from third and lift the Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the Rockies at Busch Stadium on Sunday to cap his first series as a Cardinal in ironic fashion.
After going 1-for-10 in his first three games with the Cardinals, including some well-hit fly balls that sent Rockies outfielders to the warning track, it was a well-placed grounder that did the trick for Moss against Oberg.
"I was happy. I know it sounds weird [being] 1-for-10, but the way I hit the ball, there's not much more I could do," Moss said. "Those are the types of at-bats I've been looking to have all season long, and to have them and finally come through today with a big hit, that's what I've been looking for all season long, is to be able to contribute like that."
The Cardinals barreled out of the dugout toward Moss as Heyward crossed the plate, creating a moment that Moss struggled to find the words for after the game.
"I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to be here," Moss said, traded from the Indians on Thursday. "There's 28 places I could have gone if I was going to be traded and to be able to come here, I've said it a few times, it's like winning the lottery."
Manager Mike Matheny said he considered using Moss as pinch-hitter to lead off the eighth inning, but he instead elected to use Greg Garcia, who singled. But when Kolten Wong grounded into a 1-6-3 double play with pinch-runner Peter Bourjos on third, the offense was forced to regroup with only Moss and Pete Kozma remaining on the bench as potential pinch-hitters.
After back-to-back hits from Heyward and Randal Grichuk, Matheny pulled the trigger, inserting Moss to hit in place of seven-hole hitter Mark Reynolds.
"He was prepared all game long," Matheny said. "I almost sent him up there a little earlier for an at-bat, but I had a feeling that we might get an opportunity with some guys on base for him to do what he does, and he came through."
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.