The Cardinals are heading back to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2014 after taking down the Braves 13-1 in Game 5 of the NLDS in Atlanta on Wednesday.
It's hard to call this a game though because the implication of that is two teams were on a level playing field.
However, this playing field was far from even as the Cardinals led this game from the get-go and put it away with just one out in the first inning.
St. Louis got on top 4-0 before Braves manager Brian Snitker pulled starter Mike Foltynewicz. And when the inning was all said and done, the Cardinals were up 10-0.
The game was over at that point. The largest comeback in a Division Series game in MLB history is six and there was virtually zero chance the Braves were going to come back from 10 down.
Now the Cardinals await the winner of the Dodgers-Nationals game that will be played later on Wednesday.
Three takeaways from Cardinals' series-clinching NLDS Game 5 win over Braves
Jack Flaherty shut it down
Let's be honest, Jack Flaherty didn't have to do much in this game as he came in with a 10-0 lead, but that doesn't change the fact that he was great. After a Game 2 performance where he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss, he came back and was even better in Game 5 allowing just one run in six innings of work.
More importantly though, after that 10-run first inning, he left absolutely no doubt. He came out and worked around a single and a walk to post a scoreless inning and immediately got rid of any idea that he would give the Braves an opportunity like the Cardinals were given in the top half of the inning.
Jack Flaherty Overlay (from TBS). pic.twitter.com/ypbvvNuBXG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2019
Flaherty was fantastic to end the year and he has carried that into the playoffs. He is this team's ace and there is no doubt about it.
What year is it?
When 10 runs are scored in an inning it has to come with at least one home run right? In 2019 when MLB broke the home run record once again, that has to be the assumption. But believe it or not, that was not the case in Game 5.
The Cardinals, in fact, scored 13 runs through seven innings and did it without a single home run. That cannot be all that common. Especially for 2019. But it wasn't the most this season, believe it or not. St. Louis was actually the team to pull that off as they scored 17 on May 9 against the Pirates without a home run, according to NBC Sports Chicago.
The Cardinals have 13 runs today... with no home runs.
The most runs any team has scored this season without a longball was 17 by the Cardinals - May 9 vs Pirates
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 9, 2019
However, it's not nearly the most ever scored without a run. In 1923, the Indians scored 27 runs without a home run, according to Baseball Reference. But for 2019, 13 is one heck of a big number.
The beating goes on
It's tough being an Atlanta sports fan. Forget this miserable loss in a winner-take-all game, but think about the longevity for a second. With this loss for the Braves, Atlanta has now lost 10 straight postseason series.
The last win came in the NLDS in 2001 when the Braves beat the Astros in four games. That's a long run of losses. And what makes it even worse is the losses haven't exactly been terrible. They have only technically been swept one time, but that was in the 2012 wild-card game so that wasn't even a sweep, it was just a one-game loss.
But the Braves haven't really been all that close to winning a series either. Until this year, the last time they had a chance to win a Division Series was in the 2004 NLDS against the Astros which they lost in five games. Other than that, they hadn't won more than one game in a series until 2019.
It's been a rough go of it for Braves fans, and honestly, we feel for you.