- Dilip Vishwanat/Getty
The St. Louis Cardinals pulled out a dramatic comeback victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, and they may owe it all to a certain feline friend.
The Cardinals were trailing by one run in the bottom of the sixth inning when they put two men on base before making back-to-back outs. With first base open and only one out required to get out of the inning, Kansas City intentionally walked center fielder Dexter Fowler, bringing veteran catcher Yadier Molina to the plate with the bases loaded.
Then, suddenly, a cat appeared on the field, bringing the game to a standstill. Molina and Royals reliever Peter Moylan stood waiting as the stadium erupted in cheers for the confused feline. The cat was making its way towards the center field wall when it was picked up by a stadium employee, who endured a couple of nasty scratches in the line of duty.
Take a look at the surreal scene:
The game continued once the chaos died down, but things didn’t remain calm for long.
Take a look at what happened on just the second pitch of Molina’s at bat.
The grand slam brought the score to 8-5, where it remained for the rest of the game.
But while the blast was consistent with Molina’s recent hitting performance, it was the cat, not the catcher, that received the lion’s share of the credit. Fans quickly dubbed it “Rally Cat,” a fitting mascot for a team that’s won five straight games to climb above .500 for the first time since June 2.
“I’m not a cat person, but I sure like that one,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after the game.
Cardinals security said the cat was claimed, possibly by the Humane Society of Missouri. It is unknown how it got onto the field in the first place.
This isn’t the first time that St. Louis fans have credited a furry friend for team success. In 2011, a squirrel caused a big distraction during an NLDS game between the Cardinals and Phillies, running across home plate during Philadelphia pitcher Roy Oswalt’s delivery before jumping into the stands. The animal became known as “Rally Squirrel,” and the Cardinals went all the way to the World Series, defeating the Texas Rangers in seven games.
The Cardinals and Royals will conclude their four-game series on Thursday night.