DENVER (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals picked up a win before a pitch was even thrown when reserve outfielder Jose Martinez captured a playful, pregame staredown with Colorado reliever Carlos Estevez.
Too bad for the Cardinals that didn’t count in the standings. They sure could’ve used it.
Nolan Arenado hit a grand slam, German Marquez pitched five solid innings for his first major league win and the Rockies slowed the Cardinals’ playoff chase with an 11-1 victory on Wednesday.
The Cardinals, who had won four straight, entered the day tied with New York and San Francisco atop the NL wild-card standings. The Mets and Giants both played later.
The Cardinals had some early momentum when that standoff went their way just after the anthem.
Here’s how it unfolded: Estevez and Martinez stood near their dugouts with their baseball cap over their heart and refused to back down until the other moved first.
Estevez blinked first and made a winner of Martinez, who celebrated before retreating to the dugout. Estevez said manager Walt Weiss pulled him in out of fear of being ejected.
“It’s not fun to have one less bullpen guy,” Estevez explained.
Martinez was going to see this thing through to the end no matter the consequences.
“The umpire asked me, `Why you do that?’ I’m like, `When you’re a rookie and a big league guy asks you to stand up there, I stand up there,”’ said Martinez, who had a pinch-hit single in the seventh. “The most important thing is we have fun and the fans enjoyed it.”
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