When the Cardinals established the franchise record for most runs scored in an inning, they did it at a critical stage of the National League pennant race.
The 12 runs the 1926 Cardinals scored in the third inning during the opener of a doubleheader at Philadelphia helped them catch the Reds and move toward clinching their first league championship.
On July 21, 2012, the Cardinals scored 12 runs in the bottom of the seventh against the Cubs and won, 12-0. Boxscore That was the first time St. Louis had scored a dozen runs in an inning since the 1926 Cardinals did it against the Phillies on Sept. 16, 1926.
Managed by second baseman Rogers Hornsby, the 1926 Cardinals trailed the first-place Reds by a half-game in the NL standings on the morning of Sept. 16. The doubleheader against the Phillies presented an opportunity for St. Louis to gain ground. Philadelphia was in last place and its pitching was the worst in the league (the 1926 Phillies would finish with a 5.03 team ERA).
In Game 1 of the doubleheader at Baker Bowl, the Phillies led 2-1 after two innings.
The Cardinals then battered five Phillies pitchers for 12 runs on nine hits and two errors in the third. Jack Knight and relievers Mike Kelly, Ed Baecht and Ray Pierce each yielded runs in the inning before Pete Rambo, making his big-league debut, got the third out.
(Unlike the fictional action-film character portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, Rambo, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound right-hander, didn’t become famous or infamous. He pitched 3.2 innings against the Cardinals that day, yielding eight runs on six hits and four walks. It turned out to be the lone appearance of his major-league career.)
The Cardinals won, 23-3, collecting 22 hits (no home runs) and eight walks. Left fielder Chick Hafey was 3-for-6 with five RBI. First baseman Jim Bottomley drove in four runs. Center fielder Taylor Douthit scored five times. Boxscore
St. Louis also won the second game, 10-2. Wrote the Associated Press:
The first game was poorly played and the second was little better … There was an attendance of about 8,000 and many in the crowd jeered as the Philly pitchers were sent from the mound one after another in the first contest.
Though the Reds beat the Giants, 3-0, that day, the Cardinals’ doubleheader sweep enabled them to move into a first-place tie with Cincinnati. Each team had an 85-60 record, with nine games remaining.
When St. Louis beat Philadelphia the next day and the Reds lost to the Giants, the Cardinals took sole possession of first place. The Reds lost five in a row. On Sept. 24, the Cardinals clinched the pennant with a 6-4 victory over the Giants and finished two games ahead of the Reds.