Six years ago Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers played each other in a memorable Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. Here’s BND columnist Joe Ostermeier’s account of that game that night:
As long as we live, we may never see another World Series game like this.
Whatever the final game of the season brings Friday night, it won’t be any more mind-boggling and spellbinding than the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-9 win over Texas in 11 innings in Game 6 Thursday.
“What happened today, you had to be here to believe it,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
“It’s corny, but we don’t ever quit trying.”
The Cardinals trailed 7-5 when David Freese hit a two-run, two-out, two-strike triple in the bottom of the ninth, tying the game at 7-7.
The Cardinals trailed 9-7 when Ryan Theriot hit into an RBI groundout and Lance Berkman hit a two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the 10th, tying the game at 9-9.
And the Cardinals and Rangers were still tied when Freese hit a leadoff homer on a 3-2 pitch from Mark Lowe in the 11th, sending the largest crowd in Busch Stadium III history — 47,325 — into a frenzy.
Oh, did we mention Freese is a hometown boy?
I felt like I was part of a circus out there, bouncing balls off the top of my hat. We tied that up, had good ABs (at-bats) and kept battling. That defines our team, the way we kept coming back.
Save it for the screenplay. Ain’t nobody outside of Hollywood gonna believe what I’m telling you right now.
“It feels good,” said Freese, who more than redeemed an error on an unimaginably easy popup that he dropped in the fifth inning. “I felt like I was part of a circus out there, bouncing balls off the top of my hat. We tied that up, had good ABs (at-bats) and kept battling. That defines our team, the way we kept coming back.”
The Cardinals have no business being in a Game 7 Friday night, but they’ve been hearing that from somebody since late August.
They made three errors Thursday, letting two runners score. They stranded seven runners the first eight innings, letting Texas take a 7-4 lead after seven. They let the Rangers take a 9-7 lead in the 10th.
And somehow, they found a way to win.
Can you imagine it? Ron Washington was there, and he’s having trouble stomaching it.
“It’s not over until you get the last out,” the Texas manager said. “I was just sitting there praying that we’d get that last out, and we didn’t get it.
“You have to tip your hat to the Cardinals, they way they fought tonight and took the game from us.”
There are a lot of guys on our club that are really enjoying the World Series, especially the first-times or second-timers. And the experience of Game 7 is something they’ll never forget. It’s just as exciting as it’s supposed to be.
Tony La Russa
No matter to this magic crew, who is about to wind up — win or lose — the most compelling and captivating season any of us can remember.
There was the Cardinals’ 23-9 rush to the post-season, when they trailed in the wild-card standings by 10 1/2 games with five weeks to play.
There was the scintillating 1-0 win over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
There was the dramatic six-game win over Milwaukee in the National League Championship Series.
And there has been the closest, most dramatic World Series in at least a decade, bringing us to a Game 7 that will put the exclamation point on a post-season that’s taken our breath away.
“There are a lot of guys on our club that are really enjoying the World Series,” La Russa said, “especially the first-times or second-timers. And the experience of Game 7 is something they’ll never forget.
“It’s just as exciting as it’s supposed to be.”
Note: The Cardinals went on to claim their 11th World Series title with a win in Game 7 on Oct. 27, 2011. Three days later, Tony La Russa retired with two World Series win with the Cardinals, while David Freese spent two more seasons with his hometown club before joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Pittsburgh. He remains with the Pirates but is as popular as ever in St. Louis, where he’s a celebrity pitchman for Imo’s Pizza.
Joe Ostermeier, one of the official scorers at the World Series for the 2011 World Series, is chairman of the St. Louis Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He has covered the Cardinals for the News-Democrat since 1985. He can be reached at (618) 239-2512 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.