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Comeback Cardinals cap championship

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Cardinals celebrate their 11th World Series title after beating the Rangers 6-2 in Game 7.

In a season filled with so many improbable comebacks, the St. Louis Cardinals had one more rally left in the World Series on Friday night at Busch Stadium.

The Redbirds erased an early 2-0 deficit in the first inning and cruised to a 6-2 victory in Game 7, which gave the Midwestern franchise its 11th World Series title, second-most all-time, and first since 2006.

World Series Game 7's At Home
Cardinals History

Let’s recap some of the come-from-behind heroics of these “Cardiac Cards”:

• Cardinals are the second team to win a World Series after being one strike from postseason elimination, joining the 1986 Mets.

• Cardinals are the eighth team since 1980 to come back from a 3-2 series deficit to win the World Series. The last team to do it was the 2002 Angels against the Giants.

• Cardinals clinched a postseason spot on the final day of the regular season. They are the third team in Wild Card Era (since 1995) to do that and win the World Series, joining the 2006 Cardinals and 2010 Giants.

• Cardinals were the sixth team in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to be 10 games out of playoff contention on August 1 or later to make the postseason. The only other team to win the World Series in this span was the 1969 Mets.

David FreeseFreeseThe hometown hero, David Freese, earned the World Series MVP. This award came less than two weeks after he won the NLCS MVP. With those two trophies, he became the sixth player to win the LCS and World Series MVP in the same postseason. The others are Willie Stargell (1979), Darrell Porter (1982), Orel Hershiser (1988), Livan Hernandez (1997) and Cole Hamels (2008).

Freese drove in two runs in this deciding game, which gave him a major-league record 21 RBI in the 2011 postseason. He passed Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997), Scott Spiezio (2002) and David Ortiz (2004), who each had 19.

Chris Carpenter, pitching on three days’ rest, threw six innings of two-run ball to get the win. Carpenter, who also won the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS, is the first pitcher in major-league history to win two winner-take-all games in one postseason.

With the victory, Carpenter improved to 7-0 in postseason home games, joining Curt Schilling as the only pitchers to win their first seven career postseason decisions at home.

Tony La Russa, who joined Bobby Cox and Casey Stengel as the only managers to win three postseason Game 7’s, is now the ninth manager to win at least three World Series titles. Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel have the most rings with seven each.

Teams To Never Win World Series
All-Time

The Texas Rangers again tasted defeat in the Fall Classic as they became the first American League team to lose back-to-back World Series since the Yankees in 1963 and 1964.

The Rangers still have not won a World Series title in their 51 seasons as a major-league franchise. Of the eight current MLB franchises to never win a World Series, the Rangers have been in existence the longest.

In fact, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the Rangers and the Minnesota Vikings are tied for the most seasons played by any franchise - in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB - that has never won a championship.

The loss by the Rangers was hardly predictable. Prior to Friday night, the Rangers had not lost consecutive games in more than two months, when they lost three in a row to the Red Sox at home August 23-25.

Was this the most exciting postseason ever? There were 13 one-run games, which is the most in a single postseason all-time. There were also 22 game-tying or go-ahead hits in the World Series, tied for the most in a single World Series with the 1975 series.