Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma: Cardinals’ unlikely Game 5 heroes

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“Unbelievable,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of his seven and eight hitters. “It’s unbelievable not just what they’ve done in this series, but down the stretch. They’ve been so good for us. Koz stepped into a tough situation that he didn’t anticipate himself being in, and we needed him. We needed him bad. And he came in and he didn’t just do a good job, he did a great job.”

“The big hits, you just never really expect that from your eight-hole hitter,” Matheny continued. “You just want him to go out and catch the ball. But he’s done that and then been big offensively for us too. He’s just been a huge pickup for us.”

The beer kept flowing and the corks kept popping as more people walked into the visitors’ clubhouse. The room that had been tense and reserved just one night before was now home to a full-on party. Players drank and laughed, and those scattered around the locker room speaking with reporters all said essentially the same thing: They never gave up.

“It could be anybody,” Kozma said of his game-winning hit. “Fortunately, they called on me. I just happened to be that guy.”

In the middle of the clubhouse, somebody asked Descalso if the win had been destiny.

“Call it whatever you want to call it, but these guys in here never say die,” he said as another Budweiser was poured over his head. “Oh my God, it’s cold.”

On the other side of the stadium, the Nationals quietly coped with the loss. They could only imagine just how cold it was.

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