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Thursday, October 20, 2011
Defensive difference: Glove of Albert Pujols

By Jeff Caplan



ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols' feared bat didn't win Game 1 of the World Series. His two-time Gold Glove at first base saved it.

Michael Young's two-out, sixth inning grounder nearly found enough daylight to get down the first-base line and score Ian Kinsler for what would have been a 3-2 Texas Rangers lead.

"I didn't smoke it or anything like that, but I thought it might sneak by," said Young, who failed to get a ball out of the infield in the St. Louis Cardinals' 3-2 victory. "I had two strikes and tried to go to right field. He made a great play."

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Pujols broke for the grounder and was well behind first base when he lunged in the air, laid out and snagged it near the first-base line. He gathered himself and made the toss to pitcher Chris Carpenter covering the bag to end the inning to a rousing ovation from the home fans.

"I thought it had a chance to squirt down the line," said Kinsler from his view looking down the first-base line halfway between third base and home plate. "It was close. It was a good play."

In the Cardinals' two-run fourth inning, Young was unable to come up with a similar play on Lance Berkman's grounder down the line that put St. Louis ahead, 2-0. And in the bottom of the sixth, immediately after Pujols saved a run, the Cards took the lead on a two-out hit for the one-run lead.