Looking to repeat as Major League Baseball’s champions, the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals clinched the new second wild card berth after Game 161 of the regular season.
As the second wild card winner, St. Louis traveled to Atlanta for the one-game, winner-take-all battle on October 5. It appeared to be a major challenge as Kyle Lohse faced the National League’s Pitcher of the Month for both August and September, Kris Medlen.
The Cardinals were up to the task. In the 6-3 St. Louis win, Matt Holliday homered and Atlanta self-destructed by making three throwing errors – the most crucial of them by Chipper Jones in his final game before retiring.
The contest will be remembered longest due to a very controversial play. The Braves protested to no avail after an eighth-inning fly ball dropped by Pete Kozma in short left field was ruled an out via the infield fly rule. The game had to be stopped for almost 20 minutes as livid Atlanta fans pelted the field with garbage.
Lohse earned the win, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Jason Motte picked up the save by getting the final four outs, taking over after the debris-driven delay. Following the win, the Cardinals moved on to face the NL East Division Champion Washington Nationals in the League Division Series.