I'm sure that some day I will look back fondly at the wild third game of the 2011 World Series that saw the Cardinals storm out to a five run lead -- and then desperately hang on for dear life.
But I didn't have a peaceful moment Saturday night until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning despite the fact that the Redbirds were leading by nine runs at the time. They managed to hang on by a 16-7 score thanks to three Albert Pujols home runs and now the Cardinals need to win two of the next four games to win the 11th World Series title in franchise history.
Pujols, stung by criticism because of a crucial fielding error in game two and then a media storm fueled by the ire of reports he stood up after the second game, blasted a monster three-run shot to answer a second rangers rally, then hit a two-run job and a solo shot to build an insurmountable lead in the later innings.
Kyle Lohse started for the Cardinals and did very well for the first three innings, keeping the Rangers off the scoreboard. But in the bottom of the fourth, staked to a 5-0 lead, he gave up four consecutive hits including a pair of runs to let Texas get back in the game 5-3.
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The Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the fifth to restore the five-run lead 8-3. But then Texas scored three more in the bottom of the inning to make it 8-6. In the top of the sixth the Redbirds plated four runs to make the advantage 12-6. And, finally, the pitching started to gain some traction and the team was able to hold the lead.
The experts predicted that the Rangers sluggers would take control of the World Series in Texas because the hitter-friendly conditions at their home ballpark would favor their sluggers. But the St. Louis offense made a statement by scoring in seven of nine innings and pounding out four homers.
Pujols' three home runs made him the first player in National League history to collect three homers in a World Series game. The other two players to accomplish the feat are Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. Ruth accomplished the job at Sportsmans Park during the Cardinals' first Fall Classic appearance in 1926.