Bullpen wrap: Shell-shocked and down
ST. LOUIS -- Alexi Ogando had no chance. Neftali Feliz lived on the edge again and this time paid a heavy price. Darren Oliver got tagged, Scott Feldman couldn't get a third strike or third out to end it in the 10th and Mark Lowe was one and done in the 11th.
Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 in 11 mind-melting innings in Game 6 of a classic World Series Thursday night falls squarely on the Rangers bullpen, a unit that had dominated in clinching the AL pennant and now seems shell-shocked and a shell of itself.
Starter Colby Lewis did his job, allowing four runs, but just two earned in a horrifyingly sloppy game. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out four. He left the game in the sixth inning with a one-run lead.
Over the next 5 2/3 innings, he watched as the bullpen coughed up six runs on 10 hits, walked four and struck out two. Ogando immediately walked in the tying run in the sixth and one has to wonder if he's pitched in his last postseason game.
Leading 7-5 in the ninth, Feliz blew his first save in seven opportunities. What was a very quiet Albert Pujols doubled, and when Feliz had David Freese down on a 1-2 count he couldn't bury the NLCS MVP. Freese crushed Feliz's 98 mph fastball over Nelson Cruz's outstretched glove and off the right-field wall to score two and the game was tied, 7-7. Feliz bolted from the clubhouse, leaving others to wonder how he'll recover.
In the 10th after Josh Hamilton's two-run homer put Texas ahead 9-7, Oliver was trampled by the little guys on the Red Birds' diminishing roster. Daniel Descalso sharply singled. Jon Jay blooped one down the left-field line and then pitcher Kyle Lohse, forced to pinch-hit because no position players remained, dropped a sacrifice bunt that nearly went for a base hit.
"Of course I had that feeling," Washington said of believing his team would clinch it in the 10th. "Bringing Ollie in on those two lefties, I thought maybe we could get those guys out. Having the pitcher come up, I don't think things could have been more perfect. But it just wasn't to happen tonight."
Feldman came in, got ahead of Lance Berkman, 1-2, and for a second time needing just one strike to win the World Series, it wasn't meant to happen. Berkman singled to center and it was 9-9.
"I needed to make that one pitch," Feldman said. "He happened to get enough bat on it and knocked it into center field."
And then there was Lowe and Freese, his dramatic home run and chaos.
Worse is Derek Holland's two innings of work does away with a Matt Harrison-Holland combo for Game 7.
The Rangers' tattered bullpen has one more shot to get it right.
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