2011 World Series
|2011 World Series|
|St. Louis Cardinals
90 - 72 in the NL
|4 - 3
96 - 66 in the AL
|2011 MLB Postseason|
|AL||NY - DET||TEX - DET||TEX - STL|
|TEX - TB|
|NL||PHI - STL||MIL - STL|
|MIL - ARI|
|<< 2010||2012 >>|
The 2011 World Series ran from October 19 to October 28, 2011. It featured the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, with the National League holding home field advantage after winning the 2011 All-Star Game. For the first time since the All-Star Game began to determine home field advantage, that factor came into play, as St. Louis won Games 6 and 7 at home to take the 11th title in team history.
St. Louis Cardinals
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals were one of the most unlikely World Series participants of recent years. They muddled through the season's first half after losing their pitching ace, Adam Wainwright, for the entire season to a spring training injury. By late August, they were 10 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, but they began to play extremely well after that, and thanks to a monumental collapse by the Atlanta Braves, claimed the wild card spot on the last day of the regular season. They then moved to upset the heavily-favored Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, then defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS in spite of an underwhelming performance by their starting pitchers who failed to pitch into the 6th inning in any of the 6 games. The Cardinals returned to the World Series five years after their last appearance - a victory over the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 Fall Classic - but with only a handful of key players remaining from that championship team.
How the Cardinals did it was an excellent offense, a very deep bullpen, just-good-enough starting pitching, and a wily manager - Tony LaRussa - who was able to use his resources perfectly during two short series. The offense once again revolved around 1B Albert Pujols, as it had for a decade. He may not have been quite as much the "Hombre" as in previous seasons, but still hit .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBI. LF Matt Holliday served as his main source of protection, hitting .296 with 22 homers and 75 RBI, but what made the offense really click was the rebirth of RF Lance Berkman, who bounced back from an apparent career-threatening decline to hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBI and earn National League Comeback Player of the Year honors. With a triple power threat in the middle of the line-up, the Cards could overcome so-so performances from their middle infielders 2B Skip Schumaker and SS Ryan Theriot, who often hit at the top of the line-up but did not contribute a lot. In contrast, the bottom of the order was perhaps the strongest in the league, with CF Colby Rasmus, 3B David Freese and C Yadier Molina all being dangerous hitters. That line-up would probably not have taken the Cards to the postseason, though. A couple of deals at the trading deadline helped to push them over the hump, by acquiring SS Rafael Furcal to provide some spark at the top of the order, and replacing Rasmus with Jon Jay after Rasmus was traded for pitching help. The bench, however, was considered pretty weak apart from Allen Craig, who was expected to be the DH in the games played in Arlington.
With Wainwright out for the season, the Cardinals turned to Chris Carpenter to be their ace. He did not really fill the bill in the regular season, going 11-9, 3.45, but showed some of his old flair in the postseason, especially when he outpitched the Phillies' Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NLDS. Behind him were a couple of solid middle-of-the-rotation types, Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse, who went 13-7, 3.56 and 14-8, 3.39, respectively. In the fourth spot, Edwin Jackson was another key mid-year acquisition, going 12-9 between two teams, while Jake Westbrook also won 12 games, but was injured late in the year and missed the first two rounds of the postseason. The bullpen was considered vulnerable, but excelled in the home stretch, with Jason Motte assuming the closer role a bit by default, but Fernando Salas and Octavio Dotel, other fine righthanders with experience in closing games, supporting him and Marc Rzepczynski and Arthur Rhodes available from the left side. Kyle McClellan, who had ceded his starting role when Jackson was acquired, made a fine middle reliever, as did Mitchell Boggs, giving LaRussa plenty of bodies to shuffle in and out of the late innings in his very idiosyncratic approach to closing out ball games. It had worked beautifully so far.
In contrast with their opponents, the presence of the Texas Rangers in the World Series was no surprise. They were back one year after losing to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series after another very strong season during which they left no doubt about their strength. They had stormed through the first two rounds of the playoffs on the back of a powerful offense producing home runs by the bushel, but there were still doubts about the strength of the starting pitchers, in spite of some impressive won-lost records.
The Rangers were a team built around a powerful offense, featuring both speed and power. On the power side were some of the usual suspects from previous years: OF Josh Hamilton, who hit .298 with 25 homers and 95 RBI; RF Nelson Cruz (.263, 29, 87), a one-man wrecking crew against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS; 2B Ian Kinsler, who hit 32 long balls and scored 121 runs; and Michael Young, owner of 41 doubles, 106 RBI and a .338 batting average. Two newcomers just made that core even more dangerous, 3B Adrian Beltre (32 HR and 105 RBI, author of 3-homer performance in the ALDS clincher) and C-1B Mike Napoli (.320, 30 HR, 75 RBI). If that wasn't enough, manager Ron Washington could count on speedsters SS Elvis Andrus (96 runs, 37 SB), Endy Chavez (.301, 10 SB) and Craig Gentry (.271 perfect in 18 stolen base attempts). And the bench, including OF David Murphy, C Yorvit Torrealba and 1B Mitch Moreland provided even more bats, if they were needed.
The pitching was not quite so good. C.J. Wilson had emerged as the ace by default by going 16-7, 2.94 in his second season as a starter, but lacked any big postseason performances to his credit. Derek Holland (16-5), Matt Harrison (14-9) and Colby Lewis (14-10) had built good won-loss records on the back of outstanding run support, but were not perceived as threats to shut down an opposite offense on their own. The one starter who had that potential, Alexi Ogando (13-8), had shown signs of fatigue in his first year as a starter and was in the bullpen for the postseason. That bullpen was very strong though, with young closer Neftali Feliz returning with a solid sophomore year, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, both mid-seasons acquisitions, being excellent set-up men, and Darren Oliver and Scott Feldman around to help out if need be.
|1||St. Louis Cardinals 3 Texas Rangers 2||October 19||Chris Carpenter (1-0) C.J. Wilson (0-1)||8:05 p.m.|
|2||St. Louis Cardinals 1 Texas Rangers 2||October 20||Jaime Garcia (0-0) Colby Lewis (0-0)||8:05 p.m.|
|3||Texas Rangers 7 St. Louis Cardinals 16||October 22||Matt Harrison (0-1) Kyle Lohse (0-0)||8:05 p.m.|
|4||Texas Rangers 4 St. Louis Cardinals 0||October 23||Derek Holland (1-0) Edwin Jackson (0-1)||8:05 p.m.|
|5||Texas Rangers 4 St. Louis Cardinals 2||October 24||Chris Carpenter (1-0) C.J. Wilson (0-1)||8:05 p.m.|
|6||St. Louis Cardinals 10 Texas Rangers 9||October 27||Jaime Garcia (0-0) Colby Lewis (0-0)||8:05 p.m.|
|7||St. Louis Cardinals 6 Texas Rangers 2||October 28||Chris Carpenter (2-0) Matt Harrison (0-2)||8:05 p.m.|
Game 1 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Chris Carpenter (1-0), LP: C.J. Wilson (0-1), S: Jason Motte (1)|
|Home Runs: - TEX: Mike Napoli (1); STL: none|
- Attendance: 46,406
Game 1, played in St. Louis' Busch Stadium, featured both teams' aces starting, Chris Carpenter for St. Louis against C.J. Wilson for Texas. Both teams featured the line-ups that had served them well in the previous rounds, with Michael Young playing 1B and Mike Napoli catching for the Rangers, and Nick Punto starting in place of Skip Schumaker, back from the disabled list, for the Cardinals. Both starters got off on the right foot and there was no score through the first three innings. Texas had the best chance in the 2nd, when Adrian Beltre doubled after one out and Nelson Cruz followed with a walk, but Napoli grounded into a double play to end the inning.
St. Louis struck first in the bottom of the 4th, when Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch to start the inning; Matt Holliday followed with a double and Wilson was in trouble. He allowed a single to Lance Berkman, and both runners came in to score, but he managed to get out of the inning with no further damage. Texas got those two runs back immediately when Beltre singled to lead off the 5th and Napoli hit a home run to right field off Carpenter. The Cards threatened again in the bottom of the 5th, as Rafael Furcal drew a lead-off walk and Jon Jay then bunted him to second. Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to issue an intentional walk to Pujols, and it worked as Holliday hit into an inning-ending double play. Wilson did not get out of trouble so easily the next inning though, after he gave up a one-out double to David Freese. Wilson then uncorked a wild pitch to move Freese to third, but he managed to strike out Yadier Molina for the second out. Punto then drew a walk and with Allen Craig pinch-hitting for Carpenter, Washington brought in Alexi Ogando to pitch. Craig singled to right field to drive in Freese and the Cardinals had a 3-2 lead.
It was then up to Cards manager Tony LaRussa to maneuver his way through the remaining three innings. He used five pitchers to get the 9 last outs. The Rangers mounted a threat in the 7th, when Cruz singled off Fernando Salas after one out, then Napoli walked. LaRussa replaced Salas with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and Washington countered by pinch-hitting Craig Gentry for David Murphy. Gentry struck out, and Washington next sent Esteban German to pinch-hit for Ogando. It was German's first at-bat of the postseason, and he struck out too. After the game, Washington was criticized for not having used back-up catcher Yorvit Torrealba, a more dangerous hitter, in that situation. After that, the Rangers were set down in order over the last two innings, with Jason Motte pitching a perfect 9th inning to earn the save.
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden were in attendance, and a ceremony honored military families during the game.
Game 2 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Mike Adams (1-0), LP: Jason Motte (0-1), S: Neftali Feliz (1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 47,288
The Rangers tied the World Series with a 2-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 2. It was a pitchers' duel between starters Jaime Garcia, for St. Louis, and Colby Lewis for Texas. Ron Washington made a defense-for-offense switch in his line-up, putting Craig Gentry in center field, sliding Josh Hamilton to left, and putting David Murphy on the bench; for St. Louis, there was no change. Lewis and Garcia were very strong through the first 6 innings, neither team getting much done on offense. Garcia was particularly effective, setting down the first nine Texas batters in a row to start the game. After the Rangers had another scoreless half-inning in the top of the 7th, the Cardinals scored the first run of the game. David Freese singled after one out, then, after another out, Nick Punto singled to right, putting runners at the corners. Tony LaRussa called for the second straight game on Allen Craig in a key pinch-hitting situation, and once again he came through with a single against reliever Alexi Ogando. The Cardinals led, 1-0.
LaRussa then began to set up his bullpen for the final six outs. Fernando Salas got the first of those, striking out Mike Napoli, then, in a replay of Game One, Washington called on a pinch-hitter - Murphy for Gentry. Once again, La Russa replied by bringing in lefty Marc Rzepczynski; Washington switched gears, getting righthanded-hitting catcher Yorvit Torrealba to bat for Murphy, but he struck out. With the pitcher's spot up, he sent up Esteban German, but he was retired too. The Rangers were down to three outs. The Cardinals put a couple of men on base after two outs in the 8th against Mike Adams, but could not increase their lead. It was now up to closer Jason Motte to end the game, but he couldn't do it. Ian Kinsler led off with a single just out of the reach of shortstop Rafael Furcal. Elvis Andrus, who had made a sparkling defensive play to end the 5th inning, squared off to bunt, but seeing that Kinsler had a good jump, he pulled back, and Kinsler stole second base, just sliding his hand under Furcal's tag. Andrus then singled to center, and as Jon Jay threw home, Kinsler stopped at third, but Andrus advanced to second as the relay escaped 1B Albert Pujols, who was charged with an error. LaRussa had a chance to walk Hamilton intentionally to load the bases, but instead elected to bring in veteran lefty Arthur Rhodes to face him. Hamilton hit a fly ball caught by Lance Berkman in right field, which tied the game and allowed the speedy Andrus to take third. LaRussa made another move, bringing in rookie righthander Lance Lynn to face Michael Young. Young hit a fly ball to center and Andrus scored on the second sacrifice fly of the inning. The Rangers were now ahead, 2-1; it was the first time a team had gone from trailing to leading in the 9th inning of a World Series game since Game 7 of the 2001 Series.
Neftali Feliz came in to pitch the 9th for the Rangers. He started off on the wrong foot, walking lead-off hitter Yadier Molina. Gerald Laird pinch ran for him, although the gain in speed was not huge. Feliz settled down though, hitting 99 and 98 mph on the radar gun as he struck out Punto and pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker, and Furcal ended the game with a fly ball to Nelson Cruz in right field. The two teams headed to Texas with the series tied, but with the Rangers brimming with confidence in spite of their lack of hitting so far.
Game 3 @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
|WP: Lance Lynn (1-0), LP: Matt Harrison (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - STL: Allen Craig (1); Albert Pujols 3 (3); TEX: Michael Young (1), Nelson Cruz (1)|
- Attendance: 51,462
After two relatively low-scoring games, the bats began to pound in Game 3, which was an old-fashioned slugfest and turned out to be the third highest-scoring game in World Series history. Chief star of the night was Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols, who had one of the greatest individual performances in Fall Classic history, ripping three homers among his 5 hits, amassing 14 total bases and driving in 6 runs. The total bases set a new record, while the hits, homers and RBI all tied existing marks. His teammates added 10 more hits to lead to a barrage of 16 runs. But the Rangers were not quiet either, scoring 7 runs themselves.
The game, matching starters Kyle Lohse and Matt Harrison, began as a low-scoring affair, with only one run scored in the first three innings, that on Allen Craig's solo home run in the 1st. Craig was starting at DH in Texas after his pinch-hitting exploits in St. Louis, while Ryan Theriot was playing 2B in place of Nick Punto. For Texas, C Mike Napoli had shifted over to 1B, with Michael Young becoming the DH and Yorvit Torrealba coming in to catch. David Murphy was also back playing left field. The two teams began to pour runs across the plate in the 4th inning, at which point the Cardinals put up four straight multiple-run innings, and scored in every remaining time at bat. Pujols was at the center of things, of course. His 4th-inning single off Harrison started a four-run push, although a missed call at first base and a throwing error by Napoli were just as responsible as the Cards' bats for the outburst. The apparent missed call came with Albert on first base with none out. Matt Holliday hit a routine double play grounder to SS Elvis Andrus, but 2B Ian Kinsler's relay pulled Napoli off the base. He did appear very clearly to tag Holliday before he reached the base however, but first base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled otherwise. Instead of 2 out and nobody on, the Cards had one out and Holliday on first, and the floodgates suddenly opened. Lance Berkman singled, then David Freese hit a double that scored Holliday; Yadier Molina walked to load the bases, then Jon Jay hit a ground ball at Napoli. He attempted to get a force out at home, but instead threw the ball to the backstop, allowing the next two runs to score; Ryan Theriot's single then added a fifth run.
Still, the Rangers did not lie down. They knocked out starter Lohse with three runs in the bottom of the 4th, on a lead-off home run by Michael Young and a two-run shot by Nelson Cruz. In another key play, Holliday threw out Kinsler at home to end the inning as the Rangers were looking to add more runs. The Cardinals then scored three runs in the 5th against Scott Feldman; Pujols singled, then Feldman walked two batters in succession, and a ground ball out and Molina's two-run double made him pay for his wildness. But the Rangers had one more big push in them, and got those three runs back in the bottom of the 5th against Fernando Salas and rookie Lance Lynn.
The score was thus still 8-6 at the start of the 6th, which is when Phat Albert hit the first of his three dingers, with a huge blast with two men on base off Alexi Ogando. Lynn then managed to stop the Rangers' offense for a pair of innings, during which the Cardinals pulled away, having added a 12th run after Pujols' homer. In the 7th, Pujols followed a walk to Craig with another homer, and it was 14-6. For good measure, he added a solo shot in the 9th off Darren Oliver, capping the game of a lifetime.
Game 4 @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
|WP: Derek Holland (1-0), LP: Edwin Jackson (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - STL: none; TEX: Mike Napoli (2)|
- Attendance: 51,539
Game Four couldn't have been more different from Game Three for the Cardinals as what happened here. After battering the Rangers' pitching and setting various offensive records the previous day, the Cardinals were limited to two meager hits, both by DH Lance Berkman, and were shut out, 4-0. Former President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Nolan Ryan before the game, and the two team's fourth starters went to work, Edwin Jackson for the Cardinals and Derek Holland for the Rangers. Other changes in the two teams' line-ups included Berkman moving from right field to DH for the Cards, switching roles with Allen Craig, one of the team's best hitters so far; Nick Punto was back in the line-up at 2B, with Ryan Theriot returning to the bench. For the Rangers, Mike Napoli was back behind the plate, with Mitch Moreland making his first start of the Series at first base.
Derek Holland had one of the best days of his career; his outstanding 16-5 regular season record had been built on the best run support in the major leagues, but tonight, he needed only minimal help from his hitters. He pitched all the way into the 9th inning, leaving after 8 1/3 scoreless innings, having given up only 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7. St. Louis never really threatened to score and had trouble even getting the ball out of the infield. For their part, the Rangers got to work early against Jackson, who battled his control all evening. They scored a run in the 1st inning when Elvis Andrus singled and scored on Josh Hamilton's double. Jackson then walked two batters before getting out of the inning. He pitched on through the 6th, but walked 7 batters overall although he allowed only one more hit after the 1st. After Jackson walked Nelson Cruz and David Murphy after one out in the 6th, Tony LaRussa brought in Mitchell Boggs to face Mike Napoli. The catcher redeemed his crucial error in the previous game by driving Boggs' first pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer. Texas now had a comfortable 4-0 lead, and would never feel threatened from that point on. Closer Neftali Feliz came on in the 9th after Holland had issued his second walk of the game to Rafael Furcal with one out; he started out by walking Craig, but then retired Albert Pujols on a fly ball to center and struck out Matt Holliday to end the game. The Series was now tied at two wins for each team.
Game 5 @ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
|WP: Darren Oliver (1-0), LP: Octavio Dotel (0-1), S: Neftali Feliz (2)|
|Home Runs: - STL: none; TEX: Mitch Moreland (1), Adrian Beltre (1)|
- Attendance: 51,459
The Rangers moved to within one win of their first World Championship with a second late-game push, after the one that got them their initial victory in Game 2. This time, Mike Napoli got the key blow, a two-run double in the 8th.
The Cardinals had gotten off to a good start in the game. With their ace Chris Carpenter pitching, they took a 2-0 lead against C.J. Wilson in the 2nd inning. Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker, starting in centerfield in place of Jon Jay, drove home the two runs.
But the Rangers came back after their pitching settled down relatively. Mitch Moreland opened their tally with a solo home run in the 3rd, then, three innings later, Adrian Beltre tied the game with another solo shot, getting down almost on one knee to lift a very low pitch. Four Ranger relievers succeeded Wilson on the mound, and all of them managed to keep St. Louis from scoring, because they were particularly effective with runners in scoring position; the Cardinals left 12 men on base overall, and were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position, squandering numerous opportunities. Napoli also twice threw out Allen Craig on stolen base attempts, the second caught stealing coming at a crucial point with none out in the 9th inning when Albert Pujols struck out on a missed hit-and-run call against closer Neftali Feliz for a key double play. All of this negated the 9 walks issued by Texas pitchers, 4 of them intentional, of which three were given to Pujols.
The game-winning rally in the 8th started when Michael Young doubled off Octavio Dotel, who had just come in for Carpenter. Beltre struck out, then Nelson Cruz received an intentional walk. If Tony LaRussa's trademark maneuverings in the bullpen had worked out well for most of the postseason, it was not the case on this night. Lefthander Marc Rzepczynski was called in to face David Murphy, but Ron Washington declined to play LaRussa's game by replacing his left fielder with right-handed batter Craig Gentry; Murphy was left to hit in a lefty-on-lefty match-up, and he hit a ground ball back to the mound which looked like a potential double play ball. But the ball bounced off Rzepczynski's bare hand and settled down between first and second base for an infield hit that loaded the bases. Napoli then came in to hit, but because of a breakdown in communications between the dugout and the bullpen, LaRussa did not have righthander Jason Motte ready to come into the game, as rookie Lance Lynn had been warming up, so Rzepczynski stayed in the game, giving the Rangers a favorable match-up. The hot-hitting Napoli did not waste the chance, hitting a two-run double from which the Cardinals could not come back. The two teams would head back to St. Louis with Texas having two chances to claim its first World Championship.
Game 6 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Jake Westbrook (1-0), LP: Mark Lowe (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - TEX: Adrian Beltre (2), Nelson Cruz (2), Josh Hamilton (1); STL: Lance Berkman (1), Allen Craig (2), David Freese (1)|
- Attendance: 47,325
Game Six was delayed by a day because of rain and cold in St. Louis on October 26th; the decision to postpone the evening game was made early in the afternoon, to avoid having players and spectators hang around for nothing in miserable conditions. When the game was played the next day, it turned out to be one of the most thrilling contests in the history of the World Series, with the Cardinals twice avoiding defeat while down to their last strike, and finally winning on an 11th-inning walk-off home run by David Freese to force a seventh game.
The two Game Two starters, Jaime Garcia and Colby Lewis were facing each other once again, but if their first meeting had been a pitcher's duel, this game would be a slugfest, and a sloppily-played one at that. With the designated hitter no longer in play, Ron Washington moved Michael Young back to first base and slid Josh Hamilton to left, putting Craig Gentry in center, expecting a low-scoring game. For his part, Tony LaRussa left Skip Schumaker in center and returned Lance Berkman to right field, electing to sit both Jon Jay and Allen Craig. By the end of the game, though, just about everyone on both teams would get a chance to play, including two of St. Louis' starting pitchers who were used as pinch-hitters.
The scoring started immediately. Before Garcia recorded his first out, Ian Kinsler had scored on a lead-off walk followed by singles by Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton. But that lead was immediately erased when Schumaker singled in the bottom of the inning and, one out later, Berkman hit a home run for a 2-1 Cardinals lead. Texas came back immediately when Mike Napoli walked and Gentry followed with a single. Lewis was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but the charging 3B Freese picked it up, threw to SS Rafael Furcal to erase Napoli, and Furcal in turn relayed to 2B Nick Punto at first base to complete an unusual double play; undeterred, however, Kinsler hit a ground-rule double and the score was tied, 2-2. Fernando Salas replaced the ineffective Garcia in the top of the 4th, but Nelson Cruz led off the inning by hitting a routine fly ball that LF Matt Holliday misplayed for a two-base error. Napoli followed with a single and Texas was up, 3-2. Salas committed the Cards' second error of the inning two batters later, but the Rangers were unable to cash in another run. That lead did not last long either, as Berkman opened the bottom of the 4th by reaching on 1B Young's error, then scored after a walk and a pair of ground balls.
The two teams exchanged runs once again in the 5th and 6th innings. Once more, the leadoff hitter reached on an error, this time Hamilton on a miscue by Freese, who dropped a pop-up. Young doubled to score him, and later in the inning, Washington pinch-hit David Murphy for Gentry in hopes of adding another run, but the move did not succeed: Murphy did draw a walk to load the bases, but Lewis was allowed to come to the plate, even though he had been less than stellar on the mound, and he struck out to end the inning. Poor defence allowed the Cards to tie the game at 4 in the 6th when Berkman hit an infield single with one out and Holliday reached on Young's second error of the game. Freese then walked to load the bases, and Washington brought in Alexi Ogando to face Yadier Molina. Ogando, continuing his Series-long struggles, walked him to force in a run, but he was then helped by Napoli, who picked Holliday off third base; that play proved crucial as Holliday injured his hand on the play, ending his postseason, and Ogando next uncorked a wild pitch which would have alowed him to score had he still been on base. With a base open, Punto was walked, and Derek Holland, who had pitched brilliantly as a starter in Game 4, came in in relief. He got Jay, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Salas earlier and had stayed in, to hit a comebacker to him for the final out. Thus after six innings, the game had been ugly but very even, with both teams having scored 4 runs and both teams being well into their bullpen. The second act would be all Rangers though.
With Lance Lynn beginning his second inning on the mound, Texas got its bats going in the 7th. Adrian Beltre and Cruz hit back-to-back homers to start the inning, and Texas was up, 6-4. But LaRussa, usually quick to change his pitchers, let Lynn in the game, and after one out, Murphy singled. Holland, like Lewis earlier, failed in his attempt to bunt him over, but was himself safe on a fielder's choice. However, Lynn hurt himself fielding the bunt. At this point, LaRussa elected to make a double switch, bringing in Octavio Dotel to pitch and replacing Punto with Ryan Theriot at second base. Dotel threw a wild pitch that sent Holland to second, and he scored the inning's third run on Kinsler's single. St. Louis was now down by three runs with 9 outs to go. Holland quickly reduced that to 6 outs by pitching a perfect 7th. Marc Rzepczynski came in to pitch the 8th and retired the Rangers in order, on three ground balls. That was the end of Act 2. Act 3 would be one the most memorable four-inning spans in major league history.
St. Louis showed some life in the bottom of the 8th when Craig, who had come in for Holliday after his hand injury, hit his second home run of the series. After a second out, Molina singled. Gerald Laird came in to hit for Rzepczynski, and Washington countered with his set-up man, Mike Adams. LaRussa made a counter-move, sending Daniel Descalso to hit for Laird, and he singled. Jay also singled and the Cards had the bases loaded while trailing, 7-5. They couldn't capitalize, however, as Furcal grounded out to Adams and it seemed that they had wasted their last chance to extend the Series. The Rangers failed to pad their lead in the top of the 9th, but were very confident, with their closer Neftali Feliz coming in to hold a two-run lead. He struck out Theriot, but allowed a double to Albert Pujols, who had been unusually quiet so far. Feliz then walked Berkman before striking out Craig for the second out. The Rangers were already tasting the champagne, as Feliz worked a 1 and 2 count on Freese when the third baseman tripled, scoring both runners and sending the game into extra innings. Stunned, the Rangers still managed to reply. Andrus singled after one out in the top of the 10th and Hamilton, whose power had been dampened all postseason by a wrist injury, hit the ball out of the park for another two-run lead, 9-7. It was Darren Oliver's turn to try to save the victory. He started off on the wrong foot, giving up back-to-back singles to Descalso and Jay to start the inning. Pitcher Jason Motte was due up, but with his bench empty, LaRussa called on starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to pinch hit, then changed his mind, bringing out another pitcher, Kyle Lohse. Lohse laid down a good sacrifice bunt, putting both runners in scoring position. Scott Feldman now came out to pitch, and he got Theriot to ground out for the second out, although Descalso scored, bringing St. Louis within one run. Pujols was due up and, to no one's surprise, was intentionally walked. For the second consecutive inning, the Cards got a key two-out hit, again with a two-strike count, this time by Berkman, and St. Louis had once again tied the game.
The two managers were running out of available substitutes by this point. LaRussa sent Jake Westbrook to pitch the 11th; he had only pitched one inning in the postseason, but he pitched a scoreless frame that forced Washington to use Esteban German as a pinch-hitter for Feldman, meaning that pitcher number 8 would need to come into the game. Washington also had to dig deep in his reserves, summoning Mark Lowe to the mound; he had also only pitched one inning all postseason. But the first man he faced, Freese, hit a walk-off home run on a full count for an incredible 10-9 win. As a result, for the first time since the 2002 World Series, the Fall Classic would go to a decisive Game 7 while observers were quick to label this contest one of the most thrilling ever witnessed in the history of the World Series.
Game 7 @ Busch Stadium
|WP: Chris Carpenter (2-0), LP: Matt Harrison (0-2)|
|Home Runs: - TEX; none; STL: Allen Craig (3)|
- Attendance: 47,399
Game Seven featured a match-up of Chris Carpenter for St. Louis, able to make his third start of the Series following the extra day of rest as a result of the rainout two days earlier, and Matt Harrison, taking his regular turn for Texas. Carpenter had been the Cardinals' best pitcher all postseason, while Harrison had lost his Game 3 start at home, but the only likely alternative - Derek Holland - had been used in relief in Game 6, making Harrison's choice inevitable.
Before the game, Cards OF Matt Holliday was placed on the disabled list as a result of his hand injury suffered the previous day, and replaced on the roster by rookie Adron Chambers. Cardinals pitching great Bob Forsch threw the ceremonial first pitch, standing in for his former manager Whitey Herzog, who was recovering from surgery; sadly, Forsch would pass away less than a week later, victim of a heart aneurysm at age 61. Tony LaRussa decided to to re-jigger his line-up and he had Ryan Theriot playing second base and leading off, Allen Craig in LF hitting second, with SS Rafael Furcal out of the lead-off spot for the first time in the postseason and down to 7th, and Skip Schumaker batting 8th in CF. For the Rangers, there were questions before the game about the health of Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli, but both were in the line-up; the only other issue was whether David Murphy or Craig Gentry would start in the third outfield spot, and Ron Washington chose the more offensive-minded Murphy.
The Rangers did not show immediate after-affects from their crushing loss of the previous night. With Carpenter not having his best stuff in the early going, they got themselves on the scoreboard. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a single, and on the next pitch, Elvis Andrus squared off to bunt; the pitch was high however, but Kinsler had faked a run, slipped when he turned back to rejoin first base and Yadier Molina picked him off. That free out would prove a windfall for Carpenter, as he kept on struggling, walking Andrus, then allowing back-to-back doubles to Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. Texas led 2-0 before Carpenter had managed to retire anyone himself, but he then got Adrian Beltre to strike out and Nelson Cruz to ground out to third to end the inning. For his part, Harrison got two quick outs, then his control deserted him. He walked both Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman, then went to a full count on David Freese before the Game 6 hero hit a double to score both runners and tie the game at 2-all.
Carpenter struggled again in the 2nd, but the Rangers failed to draw blood. Mike Napoli led off with a single, but Murphy forced him out with a grounder back to Carpenter. Harrison got a good bunt down, then Kinsler walked. Molina had him picked off the bag again, but Pujols dropped the throw, and Murphy scooted to third. However, Carpenter got Andrus on a comebacker to the mound to end the inning. The Rangers would not manage to put two men on again for the rest of the game. Harrison got through the 2nd, but in the 3rd, Craig took him deep to right for a 3-2 Cardinals lead. At this point Carpenter began to settle down, his breaking pitches found their bite, and Texas did little more through the 5th. After the Cardinals left two men on in the 4th, Washington decided to pull Harrison out of the game and have Scott Feldman start the 5th inning. But Feldman struggled with his control, walking Craig with one out, then grazing Pujols' shirt with a pitch to put a second man on base. He got Berkman on a grounder to first that advanced both runners and Washington then called for an intentional walk to Freese, a mark of respect for a batter who had not received an intentional pass during the regular season; the bases were now loaded. Working with no margin for error, Feldman went to a full count on Molina, then threw a fastball just on the outside edge of the strike zone; both he and C Napoli were convinced it was strike three (and television replays seemed to agree), but home plate umpire Jerry Layne had other views, calling ball four. Washington replaced Feldman with C.J. Wilson, who had warmed up a couple of times already, but his first pitch hit Furcal square in the back for another run. Wilson ended the inning by striking out Schumaker, but the Cardinals had scored two runs without the benefit of a hit or even getting the ball out of the infield.
Trailing 5-2, the Rangers were starting to look demoralized. With one out in the 6th, Cruz hit a ball to deep left; Craig went to the wall, leaped and snagged the ball over the wall, robbing Cruz of a home run and taking more air out of the Rangers' balloon. In the bottom of the 6th, LaRussa hesitated, but decided to let Carpenter bat to lead off the inning, and his grounder started a 1-2-3 inning for Wilson. Carpenter went back to start the 7th, but Murphy hit him hard, driving a pitch to the right field corner that bounced into the stands for a double. With Wilson due up, Washington called on Endy Chavez to pinch hit, everyone expecting a bunt. LaRussa took out Carpenter and brought in 41-year-old lefty Arthur Rhodes. The Rangers' countermove was to send up Yorvit Torrealba, but he hit a weak fly to center. Octavio Dotel then took the mound, and he retired Kinsler and Andrus, keeping Texas off the scoreboard for the 6th straight frame. Texas was now running out of time, and things got worst in the bottom of the frame as Mike Adams struggled, allowing a single to Berkman, a walk to Freese and another single to Molina for a 6th run. Mike Gonzalez had to bail him out by striking out Schumaker to end the inning.
Unfazed by some of the poor results of his bullpen moves in previous games, LaRussa resumed his usual pattern of shuffling pitchers in and out of the game. Even though Dotel had looked very sharp in ending the 7th, LaRussa decided to use Lance Lynn, hit hard the previous day, to start the 8th. He had Marc Rzepczynski warming up just in case, but Lynn did not need the help, as he mowed down the heart of the Rangers' line-up in order. There was another incident in the bottom of the 8th when Gonzalez got the first two outs, then landed awkwardly as he threw a pitch to Craig. He threw another pitch - a ball - to go to a full count before Washington took him out, bringing in Alex Ogando, who had been victimized twice already by Craig in the Series. There was no drama this time, with Ogando's first pitch getting Craig looking. Leading 6-2 in the top of the 9th, LaRussa strengthened his defence as Jason Motte came in to close the game: Nick Punto took over at second and Daniel Descalso at third, Berkman came out of the game, and Jon Jay went to center, with Schumaker moving to right. Motte was throwing gas however, and the Rangers once again went down in order. When Murphy lifted a fly ball to left field with two outs, Craig caught it easily and the Cardinals had won the 11th Championship in their history. David Freese was named MVP, although Carpenter and Berkman would have had good claims on the prize as well. Surprisingly, Pujols, who had put on such an incredible one-man performance in Game 3, had been quiet in the other games and was not really in consideration for the award as speculation mounted that this could have been his last game in a Cardinals uniform.
It was reported that each game played in St. Louis generated an extra $500,000 for the city in supplemental tax dollars from ticket and concession sales, and allowed the city to avoid furloughs of city staff due to recent budget tightening. 
- Tony LaRussa and Rick Hummel: One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 2012. ISBN 978-0062207388
- Mlb.com: "12 memories of the ‘David Freese Game’", October 25, 2019. 
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