Thursday, October 27, 2011
St. Louis Cardinals 10, Texas Rangers 9 (Game 6 of the World Series)
Rangers can't overcome their own horrendous bullpen in heart-breaking loss.
The Texas Rangers were one pitch away from their first World Series title in franchise history twice, and twice, the Texas bullpen failed miserably in a record-setting 10-9 loss to the Cardinals in St. Louis. The loss evened the series at 3-3 with Game 7 Friday night in St. Louis.
Up 7-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, closer Neftali Feliz got one strikeout, then allowed a double to Albert Pujols and a four-pitch walk to Lance Berkman. Feliz got behind the next hitter Allen Craig, but struck out Craig swinging to bring Texas to within a single out of clinching the World Series.
Unfortunately for Texas, Feliz left a two-strike pitch over the plate for NLCS MVP David Freese, who hit a long fly ball to right that Nelson Cruz misplayed for a two-run triple. Feliz then got Yadier Molina to fly out to right to end the inning.
In the top of the tenth, Texas again took control when Josh Hamilton belted his first home run of the postseason, a two-run blast off Cardinals closer Jason Motte that scored Elvis Andrus and put the Rangers up 9-7.
But in perhaps his worst managerial decision in the series, Ron Washington put in Darren Oliver to close out the game. Oliver, who spent most of the season allowing inherited runners to score, quickly gave up a pair of singles to two of the worst-slumping hitters in baseball, Daniel Descalso and John Jay. After pitcher Kyle Lohse bunted the runners to second and third — following what appeared to be a defensive miscue from Oliver on the play that stopped a double-play — Oliver was lifted for Scott Feldman. Feldman gave up a groundout run to Ryan Theriot, then got two strikes on Lance Berkman with a 9-8 lead — and surrendered a game-tying single. Berkman finished the game 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and four runs scored.
After a scoreless top of the 11th, Texas reached deep into its bullpen for struggling reliever Mark Lowe. Lowe promptly served up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, David Freese, to seal the collapse.
Texas wasted several opportunities to put the game away early, including a bases-loaded situation where Washington let starting pitcher Colby Lewis stay in to hit in the top of the fifth. Lewis predictably struck out to end the inning, yet was pulled soon afterwards in favor of Alexi Ogando, who continued his nightmarish World Series by walking two batters while getting just one out. Rangers Game 4 hero Derek Holland came in to save Ogando's stat line, getting the final out of the inning.
Several Rangers had big days at the plate. Mike Napoli went 2-for-3 with an RBI and three walks, while Hamilton finally got going with a 3-for-6 performance, scoring twice and knocking in three. The Rangers' heavy hitters appeared to have won the game in the top of the seventh, when Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back home runs off of Lance Lynn. Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI single that scored Holland for the seemingly-safe 7-4 lead.
For Game 7, Texas' Matt Harrison will likely face St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter for the final elimination game.
See more stories in:
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- St. Louis Cardinals 6, Texas Rangers 2 (Game 7 of the World Series)