A curious eighth inning call led to Braves manager Freddi Gonzalez playing the game under protest while fans peppered the field with debris in their own form of protest. Those events are how the headlines will read, but truth be told, it was a very entertaining game won by the Cardinals.
The Braves struck first off of starter Kyle Lohse in the bottom of the second inning. After Lohse issued a walk to Dan Uggla on a ball barely outside, Lohse allowed a two run home run to catcher David Ross just seconds after Ross whiffed on a pitch that did not count just before thanks to time out call granted to Ross.
The Cardinals then came back in the top of the fourth inning with three runs thanks to an error made by Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who played his final game in a Braves uniform on Friday night.
The ultimate game winner came in the sixth inning when Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday smoked a line drive home run off of Braves starter Kris Medlan. The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the seventh thanks to two more Braves errors and an excellent base running play by rookie shortstop Pete Kozma.
Then, things got wacky. With a pair of runners on and just one out, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons popped a ball into short left field that Kozma ran underneath. But suddenly, Kozma disengaged and let the fall for what looked like a single. But, the umpires had ruled it an infield fly and the hitter was called out, prompting Gonzalez to play the rest of the game under protest and the Braves fan to embarrass themselves by tossing pounds of debris on the field.
After the nineteen minute delay, Cardinals closer Jason Motte entered the game and was able to close the door for a four out save.
Lohse picked up the win by tossing five and two thirds innings, allowing just two earned runs on six hits while striking out six. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny used four other relievers besides Motte to get through the final three and one third innings to maneuver the Cardinals through the inaugural one game Wild Card game.
Holliday paced the Cardianls offensively with the home run and an additional hit. First baseman Allen Craig also had a pair of hits while last year's postseason hero David Freese was held without a base knock but did pack up an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
The Cardinals now move on to the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals and will send ace Adam Wainwright to the hill to face Gio Gonzalez.