Matt Holliday, struggling since early in September at something less than 100 percent, singled in the St. Louis Cardinals' seventh and eighth runs of the afternoon in the top of the eighth inning, suddenly confronting viewers of their NLDS Game 3 with the Washington Nationals with the possibility that they'd been watching a blowout the whole time.
It never felt that way. The Cardinals scored first, but Chris Carpenter was shaky in the bottom of the inning, and throughout his 5-and-change scoreless. He got out of the first with runners on the corners, and got out of the fifth with the bases loaded—both times against Michael Morse, one of the Nationals' most dangerous hitters. He left with a 5-0 lead, but it felt like a 5-4 lead that just hadn't quite hit the scoreboard yet.
In the seventh Yadier Molina drew a walk to plate the Cardinals' sixth run, and at that point you might have become suspicious. You might have become even suspicious when St. Louis went to extremely-hard-throwing-rookie Trevor Rosenthal instead of Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica in the late innings.
But when Matt Holliday, picking himself up after a ball off his shin sent him to the ground, drove in two runs to push it to 8-0—that's when you knew. And that's where the game ended. As well as the Nationals had played, the score had never been very close at all.