ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Allen Craig #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against the San Diego Padres in the third inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Padres 3-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
When former Dodgers owner Branch Rickey said, "Baseball is a game of inches," he probably was just trying to offer a simple explanation to a complex sport. I mean, every game is really a game of inches. Heck, you could argue life is a game of inches.
But during the Padres 3-2 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, that fact was crystallized, and the Friars came up an inch or two short.
The Padres scored two runs in eight innings against Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright, while their starter, Eric Stults, gave up just three runs in six innings.
So they went to the 9th with St. Louis clinging to a 3-2 lead. Alexi Amarista reached on a single, and with two outs, Jesus Guzman stepped to the plate against former Padre Edward Mujica.
Guzman hit a rocket down the left field line that skipped, just barely, over the low fence near the outfield. If the ball was a couple inches lower, or the fence a couple inches higher, Amarista would have scored easily and tied the game.
However, instead the ball ended up in the stands for a ground-rule double and Alexi had to stop at 3rd.
Manager Bud Black sent rookie Jedd Gyorko in to pinch-hit, and Jedd gave everyone wearing red in Missouri a heart palpitation.
Gyorko hit a high drive to left field. Outfielder Allen Craig gave chase, all the way to the fence, and made a leaping catch at the top of the wall for the final out.
Again, if Jedd had hit that ball another couple inches (after it flew a good 373 feet), the Padres would have had a 5-3 lead.
Instead, they lost two of three in the series and fall 8.5 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks.
Now, I'll let you all argue if things didn't go the Padres' way because of simple bad luck, or the even more simple explanation they don't have as much talent as the Cardinals.