Friday, October 28, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 6, Rangers 2
By Richard Durrett
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 7 of the World Series, coming back from 3-2 down in the series -- and twice being a strike away from losing in Game 6 to the Texas Rangers -- to win their 11th title. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):
What it means: The Rangers lose the World Series for the second consecutive season, falling in seven games in a highly entertaining Fall Classic. They came to St. Louis leading 3-2, but weren't able to win Games 6 or 7. It's the first time they've lost back-to-back games since late August.
No hits, but some hit by pitches: The Cardinals turned a one-run lead into a three-run game without getting a hit in the fifth inning. Scott Feldman, in to start the inning in relief of starter Matt Harrison, issued a one-out walk to Allen Craig. He got ahead 0-2 on Albert Pujols but then hit him on the sleeve. After Lance Berkman grounded out, the Rangers intentionally walked David Freese to load the bases. Feldman then fell behind Yadier Molina 3-0 before getting the count back to 3-2 and then walking him to score a run.
C.J. Wilson came in to relieve Feldman and hit Rafael Furcal with the first pitch he threw to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead. Wilson then had a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Walks: The Rangers issued 41 walks in the seven games, the most by a pitching staff in a single World Series (passed 1997 Florida Marlins).
Hamilton hit-and-run: Despite Ian Kinsler getting picked off of first base after he slipped trying to get back to the bag, the Rangers remained aggressive on the bases in the first. They called a hit-and-run with Elvis Andrus at first and Josh Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton belted a double to right field and Andrus was able to score with the head start.
Young delivers: Michael Young doubled home Hamilton in the first, going the other way. ESPN Stats & Information: After not having an RBI in his first seven games, Young had 12 RBIs in his last 10 postseason games.
Early runs: The two runs the Rangers scored in the top of the first were the first time a run had been scored in the first inning of Game 7 since 1972, when Oakland scored a run at Cincinnati in the top of the first. The last time a team scored multiple runs in the first of Game 7 was 1960, when the Pittsburgh Pirates took a 2-0 lead on the New York Yankees.
Clutch Freese: Once again, David Freese came through with a clutch hit. He did it in the first off starter Matt Harrison. Freese hit a double to left-center scoring two runs to tie the score. That gave Freese 21 RBIs this postseason, the most for any player in a single postseason. ESPN Stats & Information: Freese joined Allen Craig as the only players to have three consecutive plate appearances to either tie or take the lead in a World Series.
Harrison goes four: Harrison lasted just four innings in Game 7, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Harrison wasn't able to hold a 2-0 lead as he took the mound, instead allowing two runs right away. That seemed to zap some of the Rangers' momentum. He didn't quite have the command he needed and the Rangers weren't going to push things past four innings.
Double-play machine: Harrison was second in the majors to teammate C.J. Wilson in double plays induced in the 2011 regular season with 30. And he got one in the second after Rafael Furcal led off with a single. Harrison got Skip Schumaker to hit into a 6-4-3 double play as Andrus charged the ball and made a nice play to start it.
Craig homers again: For the second straight game, Allen Craig homered. This time he went to right field and into the Cardinals' bullpen to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead in the third.
Insurance run: The Cardinals added another run in the seventh off reliever Mike Adams. Lance Berkman beat out an infield single, David Freese walked and Yadier Molina singled to drive in Berkman. That put the Cardinals up 6-2.