BY: Richard W. Humphrey
St. Louis beat Texas 10-9 in a most improbable game that ties the World Series at three games apiece extending the Series to game seven Friday night. The Rangers took leads of 1-0, 3-2,4-3, 7-4, and 9-7, the last of which was in extra innings. Twice they had the Cardinals down to their last strike, yet somehow St. Louis came out on top when David Freese, the local kid from the St. Louis area continued living his dream with one of the most clutch walk-off home runs in World Series history.
It was a topsy-turvy game from the beginning filled with lead changes back and forth, errors, gritty pitching performances, substitutions that made scorecards a blur, adding up to all the drama and tension any fan could ever want in a game. 22 Cardinals and 20 Rangers saw action.
It was a sloppily played game with the teams combining to commit five errors, which allowed four unearned runs to score. Early on the Rangers had plenty of scoring opportunities but were unable to cash in. Texas left eight runners on base in the first six innings after which the game was tied at four despite St. Louis having just three hits.
Colby Lewis started for Texas. Four hitters into the game, the Rangers trailed 2-1 on a Lance Berkman home run. It always looked like a struggle, but when Lewis left with one out in the sixth, he had allowed only one more hit. He was charged with four runs, two of which were unearned.
Derek Holland pitched two nice innings in relief, allowing a solo home run and in fact scoring a run himself in the seventh inning. He appeared to be in line for the win when Neftali Feliz came on in the ninth to preserve a two run lead. He couldn’t, with the two out triple coming off the bat of David Freese that drove home the tying runs to send the game into extra innings.
Texas came right back in the tenth with Josh Hamilton’s first home run in 82 at bats dating back into the regular season. Again, Texas needed just a strike to end the game in the bottom half, but Lance Berkman singled home the tying run off Scott Feldman to send the game to the 11th and set the stage for Freese’s walk-off home run.
This Series will go down in history as one of the greatest ever. For sure, there has been sloppy play and questionable managerial strategy that will be discussed for ages, but every game but one has been a nail biter.
The Series is finally down to one game – winner take all. Matt Harrison faces a to be named Cardinals’ pitcher, though strong consideration will go to game five starter Chris Carpenter pitching on short rest. Matt Holliday and Nelson Cruz left Thursday’s game with injuries and both are questionable for Friday. Mike Napoli also injured an ankle sliding. He stayed in the game, and in fact drove in his 10th run of the Series, but the injury could be problematic Friday.
Simply one of the greatest World Series games ever. Simply one of the greatest World Series ever.