Friday, October 28, 2011

The Cardinals one strike away from losing the World Series come back twice and force a Game 7

The Texas Rangers who twice were one strike away from winning their first World Series Title were stunned on Thursday night by the St. Louis Cardinals who survived and have forced a winner take all Game 7. Game 7 will take place on Friday night in St. Louis where the baseball season will come to a close and we will have a World Champion on Friday night. This game had so many layers to it and so many good and bad things that happened but in the end it became an instant classic. This is the kind of game that people will talk about for years, that you can tell your kids and grandkids about. This World Series game ranks right up there with the greatest of all-time. 1975, 1986 and 1992 all come to mind and this game is right there with all of them. The Rangers at least in the amount of hits dominated early and Jaime Garcia the St. Louis starter was pulled early but they could never put the Cardinals away although they had their opportunities. There were a few bad defensive plays including two dropped fly balls by the Cardinals. In the end a walk-off homerun decided the game.
Garcia started for the Cardinals and he pitched three innings giving up five hits and two runs with two walks and three strikeouts. The Cardinals used six pitchers after their starter was pulled and Jake Westbrook got the win pitching one scoreless inning and giving up one hit. Jason Motte the closer threw two innings in the game but gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. He came into a tie game because they were at home. The other relievers had good and bad outings, it was a mixed bag for the Cardinals.

Colby Lewis started for the Rangers and pitched much better then his opponent but he also got a no decision. Lewis pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up three hits and four runs with only two of them being earned. He walked three and struck out four. Alexi Ogando got charged with a blow save, he pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up two walks. Derek Holland a starter pitched two innings in this game and gave up only a run on two hits. The Rangers used five other pitchers and there was a mixed bag with them also. Neftali Feliz the closer blew the save giving up two hits and two runs in an inning. He also walked one and struck out two, he had the Cardinals down to their last strike but couldn’t put them away. Scott Feldman also got charged with a blown save giving up a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Mark Lowe took the loss, facing one batter and giving up a homerun.

Lance Berkman and David Freese were the offensive stars for the Cardinals. Berkman had three hits, three RBI and a walk. Skip Schumaker had a hit, Albert Pujols had a hit and a walk and Matt Holliday had two walks. Allen Craig had a hit and an RBI, Freese had two hits, three RBI and a walk and Yadier Molina had a hit, two RBI and a walk. Nick Punto had a walk, Daniel Descalso had two hits and John Jay had two hits. Pujols had a double, Freese had a triple and Berkman, Craig and Freese each had a homerun. The Cardinals were 3-12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. Holliday got picked off of third base. Holliday, Salas and Freese all made errors in the game. The Holliday and Freese errors were both botched pop ups.

The Rangers had several hitting stars but their biggest star Josh Hamilton had three hits and three RBI. Ian Kinsler had two hits, two RBI and a walk, Elvis Andrus had two hits and Michael Young had two hits and an RBI. Adrian Beltre had a hit and an RBI, Nelson Cruz had a hit and an RBI and Mike Napoli had two hits an RBI and three walks. Craig Gentry had a hit and David Murphy had a hit and a walk. Kinsler and Young had doubles. Beltre, Cruz and Hamilton each hit a homerun. The Rangers were 4-15 with runners in scoring position and they left 12 men on base. Young made two errors and Napoli picked off a runner at third base.

In the first inning Hamilton had an RBI single to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the first Berkman hit a two run homerun to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Kinsler hit an RBI double in the second to tie the game at two. Napoli hit an RBI single in the fourth to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the fourth Molina hit a ground ball and a run scored to tie the game at three. Young hit an RBI double in the fifth to give Texas a 4-3 lead. In the sixth the Cardinals tied the game again, this time on a Molina RBI walk. In the seventh inning Beltre and Cruz hit back-to-back homeruns to give Texas a 6-4 lead. Kinsler hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 7-4. In the bottom of the eighth Craig hit a solo homerun to bring the Cardinals closer, making it a 7-5 game. At the time that seemed insignificant but it wasn’t. In the ninth the Cardinals were down to their last strike and Freese hit a two run triple to tie the game at seven. In the tenth inning Hamilton hit a two run homerun to give the Rangers a 9-7 lead and then in the bottom of the tenth the Cardinals tied it again. Ryan Theriot hit an RBI groundout to make it 9-8 and once again down to their last strike Berkman hit an RBI single to tie the game at nine. The Rangers went quietly in the 11th and Freese hit a walk-off homerun to give the Cardinals the 10-9 win in the bottom of the 11th inning.

This game became an instant classic and unless you were there or witnessed it on T.V. you would never believe it. It had so much in one game and now sets up a dramatic end to the baseball season. Game 7 is winner take all and anything can happen, it is amazing that a long crazy baseball season can come down to one last game. I would expect another good game because this has been a great World Series, it will be hard to top Game Six but they will try their best. The Rangers are searching for their first World Title and the Cardinals are looking for their 11th. The Cardinals last won it all in 2006 and the Rangers never as first the Washington Senators and then the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals have won the second most titles behind the New York Yankees 27. The starters for Game Seven will be Matt Harrison for the Rangers and Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals. There may be a lot of pitching changes in this game because there is no tomorrow and all hands are on deck. You can see anyone pitch in this game and any position player get into the game. There is no reason to leave anything on the table when you don’t have another day to worry about. It will be interesting to see how Game 7 measures up to Game 6, it will be hard to top but these two teams will try and close out a memorable World Series with another memorable game.

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