ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are looking for their rally cat.
The feisty feline became an internet sensation Wednesday night, sprinting onto the field at Busch Stadium with the bases loaded for the Cardinals with two outs in the sixth inning. The cat emerged from near the visitors' dugout on the third-base side and raced into the outfield, the fur on its tail standing on end. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain stood, smiling, with a hand on his hip as the cat sprinted past him.
Kansas City was leading 5-4 at the time and play was delayed for a couple of minutes while the grounds crew collected the cat. On the first pitch after play resumed, Yadier Molina hit a grand slam off Peter Moylan to give the Cardinals an 8-5 lead. The cat was instantly dubbed #RallyCat on Twitter, and St. Louis went on to win — its fifth victory in a row.
The Cardinals said Thursday that a fan grabbed the cat after its grounds crew employee put the animal down to receive treatment for scratches and bites. The Cardinals said the fan claimed the cat was hers and abruptly left with the animal after answering some questions from security.
The Cardinals said the team hopes to find the cat to make sure it is properly cared for, and they are developing a stray animal protocol to ensure the safety of grounds crew members in the future.