What a World Series. Game six offered one of, and if you asked Buster Olney, the greatest contests in the history of baseball. The Rangers came within one strike of their first World Series crown not once but twice. St. Louis rallied three times as three different Rangers’ pitchers blew a save. In almost storybook fashion, David Freese, the hometown kid, tied and later walked off with the win for the Cardinals, who forced a deciding game seven.
This morning, many are comparing last night to some of the greatest games in World Series history. Early on in the contest, almost the exact opposite could be said. Game six was so ridiculously sloppy, that Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk tweeted that it should be ‘taken out and shot’.
From the 4th through 6th innings, the Rangers and Cardinals combined to commit five errors. Over that span four unearned runs crossed the plate.
This mess resulted in a 4-4 game after six frames. The Rangers then delivered what seemed to be the deciding blow in the top of the 7th, as Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz went back-to-back and Ian Kinsler chipped in with an RBI single to push Texas’s lead to 7-4.
But, unlike their fans, the Cardinals weren’t done.
Allen Craig, who replaced an injured Matt Holliday, hit a solo shot in the 8th, bringing the Cardinals within two entering the bottom of the 9th. Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz came on to strikeout Ryan Theriot looking before Albert Pujols doubled to deep left center. Feliz then walked Berkman on four straight pitches, but struck out Craig looking to bring Freese to the plate.
After falling behind 1-2, Freese took a Feliz offering to deep right field. His triple brought Pujols and Berkman home to score, knotting the game at 7-all and sending it to extras.
This comeback quickly seemed all for naught, as the Rangers put up a two spot in the top of the 10th. Josh Hamilton took Jason Motte deep, ending his postseason home run drought and propelling the Rangers to a 9-7 lead.
But once again the Cardinals battled back from the brink. Rangers’ reliever Darren Oliver came on to replace Feliz and gave up back-to-back singles. Pitcher Kyle Lohse came on to move the runners over, putting men on second and third with only one out.
Rangers’ manager Ron Washington again went to his bullpen, calling on Scott Feldman. The big right-hander induced a run-scoring ground out before allowing the tying run to score on an RBI single off the bat of Berkman.
Jake Westbrook came on to pitch a scoreless inning of relief before Freese did his thing in the bottom of the 11th. Freese sent those Cardinals’ fans that stuck around home happy with his walk-off bomb to center.
For the third time this postseason, the Cardinals faced and overcame elimination. We will see if they have anymore magic left in the tank or if the Rangers will be able to shrug off last night’s debacle and claim their first World Series title. The deciding game seven takes place tonight; this is what it’s all about.