After Rafael Furcal drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th with a one-out double down the third-base line, Matt Holiday was hit by a pitch and the Marlins intentionally walked Carlos Beltran to face Kelly, who responded with his first big league hit and RBI, beating out the play at first.
"That was not my gameplan at all," Kelly said. "I wouldn't call it an offensive hero. You see our team battling to come back. That's huge. It's probably one of the funnest games of baseball I've ever been a part of."
Whether he wants to be called a hero or not, Kelly's extra-inning RBI capped a game that saw the Cardinals rally from five runs down in the eighth inning against a shaky Marlins bullpen to extend their winning streak to four games.
Trailing, 6-1, through seven innings, the Cardinals began to claw their way back with an unearned run in the eighth off Steve Cishek. David Freese grounded to third and Hanley Ramirez committed two errors -- one fielding and one throwing -- allowing Beltran to score from second.
The Cardinals then put up four runs in the ninth against Miami closer Heath Bell, capped by a two-run home run from Yadier Molina to tie the game at 6. It was Molina's 11th homer of the season.
"It wasn't looking good for us," Molina said. "They put six runs on the board, and the bullpen they have, they have a pretty good bullpen. The way that we came back, it was outstanding."
Furcal worked a leadoff walk against Bell before Holliday hit a one-out double. Beltran drove in a run to cut the lead to three runs, and Allen Craig's sacrifice fly set up Molina's game-tying shot.
"I was just throwing fastballs, basically just throwing [batting practice] to the Cardinals," Bell said. "They were hitting everything I threw and not swinging at everything I didn't throw for a strike. You have to tip your hat to them and also got to slap me in the face because I [stunk] tonight."
The come-from-behind win also helped the Cardinals erase some shakiness of their own, including 13 runners left on base for the game.
Down a run in the seventh with the bases loaded, Holliday hit a sharp grounder to first off Edward Mujica. The ball deflected off the leg of Shane Robinson as he was trying to advance to second. Holliday was awarded a single, but Robinson was ruled out, ending the inning and what looked like at the time to be St. Louis' best opportunity.
Following the ricochet off Robinson's leg, the Marlins countered with four runs in the bottom of the frame, batting around to take a five-run lead.
Then there was the ninth-inning confusion that was a result of a St. Louis double-switch in the bottom of the frame. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny brought in reliever Victor Marte and pulled Freese for Tyler Greene, intending to bat Marte seventh -- since the seven-hole was the final out in the top of the inning -- and have Greene play third and bat ninth.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen argued with home-plate umpire Bob Davidson about the switch, saying Freese should've still been at third base and that Marte should be fifth in the order based on what he was told. After Davidson conferred on the field with the other umpires, he had the Cardinals removed fifth hitter Allen Craig from the game.
St. Louis ultimately had Daniel Descalso move from second to third, Greene move to second and bat ninth, Marte in the five-hole and Tony Cruz enter the game, batting seventh and playing first.
When all was said and done, and the five-spot came up in the top of the 10th, it was Kelly who wound up in the batter's box, coming through in a big way for the Cardinals before Jason Motte staved off a Miami comeback effort in the bottom of the inning.
Motte allowed a two-out John Buck RBI single, and had two runners on before getting Jose Reyes to fly out to end the game.
"Go figure, that was the game-winner," Matheny said of Kelly's hit. "It's a shame that has to be a part of the conversation about a win like that, but it's understandable. The guys did a great job of not giving up right there."