The Rally Squirrel became the Cardinals’ unofficial mascot during their 2011 World Series championship run.
On Wednesday night, the Rally Cat was born — only to disappear after its mythical deed was done.
Yadier Molina blasted a grand slam into the left-field seats one pitch after a cat ran onto and across the field in the sixth inning, helping the Cardinals rally to beat the Royals 8-5.
“It’s amazing,” Molina said. “You see some animal coming through a field. You expect people to jump on the field, but you never expect an animal. It was fun.”
The fun didn’t last as long for the cat, which the Cardinals announced Thursday afternoon had gone missing since leaving Busch Stadium in the possession of a female fan.
“As out ushers tried to contain the cat, a fan grabbed it and claimed it was hers,” read the team’s statement, explaining the step-by-step process of the cat’s removal from the field. “As she left the ballpark, our security team caught up with her and asked her some questions. She then abruptly left with the cat.
“We understand from media accounts that the woman intended to take it home and care for it but lost track of it in City Garden. We are hopeful someone will find the cat and contact us so we can properly care for it. Our grounds crew is working on developing a stray animal protocol to ensure the safety of both crew and animal should this happen again. In the meantime, the Cardinals are looking to scratch and claw their way back to the top of the division standings.”
The cat found its way into the woman’s hands after the grounds crew member in charge of retrieving the cat sought medical assistance for his injuries. Amazingly, the announcers predicted the cat would attack based on their prior experience, and in fact, the staff member was bitten several times on his way off the field.
The win was the third straight for the Cardinals against the Royals and the fifth straight overall. The Royals have lost eight of their last 10 overall.
Molina’s big blast — after a little help from a friendly feline — made the difference on a night the teams combined for 13 runs and 26 hits.
“I’m not a cat person, but I sure liked that one,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
The Cardinals loaded the bases off Royals relievers Brandon Maurer and Peter Moylan. Molina was at the plate, with two outs, when the cat came onto the field and ran toward the center field wall.
“I heard the crowd erupt and I thought there must have been something on the scoreboard,” Moylan said. “I turned around and there’s a kitten running around, which is the first time that’s happened to me.”
On the next pitch, Molina drilled his 14th homer of the season into the left-field seats for his fifth career slam.
“I left a pitch over the middle of the plate and I paid for it,” Moylan said.