Cardinals come from behind to beat Rangers, force Game 7

By Mark Dore

The St. Louis Cardinals rallied from their last strike twice to befeat the Texas Rangers 10-9 in game six of the World Series Thursday. The Cardinals played from behind for most of the game, twice coming down to their last strike, but third baseman David Freese’s game-winning homerun evened the series at 3-3 and forced a game seven at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

The win ends a two-game skid for the Cardinals after seizing an early 2-1 series lead. Right fielder Lance Berkman’s bat fueled the Cardinals offense with a game-high three hits in five at-bats, three RBIs and a first-inning homerun.

Sloppy weather delayed the start of the game, and sloppy play characterized the opening innings. The Cardinals had three early errors to set them back from the start.

The Rangers used a three-run seventh inning – highlighted by back-to-back solo homeruns by third baseman Adrian Beltre and right fielder Nelson Cruz – to take control after the Cardinals tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth. Second baseman Ian Kinsler singled to center field, bringing in pitcher Derek Holland to complete the seventh inning scoring run.

The Cardinals answered with a solo homerun of their own from outfielder Allen Craig in the eighth to left field, narrowing the Rangers lead to 7-5.

Trailing 7-5 with two outs in the ninth, Freese drove a two-strike pitch from Rangers closing pitcher Neftall Feliz for a two-run triple to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus led off the top of the tenth with a shallow single to center, setting up center fielder Josh Hamilton’s two-run homerun to put the Rangers ahead 9-7.

And once again, the Cardinals answered. Third baseman Daniel Descalso advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a ground out. With runners on first and second, Berkman scored center fielder John Jay with a single to center field to even the game and force an eleventh inning.

Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook held the Rangers to a single by catcher Mike Napoli and no runs in the top of the eleventh. Leading off for the Cardinals, Freese worked a 3-0 count before homering on a full-count pitch from Rangers pitcher Mark Lowe to seal the game.

Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis went five and one-thirds innings, surrendering just three hits but walked three batters and allowed four runs.

Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia lasted three innings, giving up two runs on five hits.

The Rangers used eight different pitchers over the course of the game, while the Cardinals used seven.

The decisive game seven begins at 7:05 p.m. Friday from Busch Stadium.

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