If game one was any indication of how the 2011 World Series will go, this is going to be an awfully entertaining World Series.
Ace Chris Carpenter tamed the Rangers' potent bats to lead the Redbirds to a 3-2 win to set the tone for the series. He allowed only two runs on five hits through six innings before yielding to the stingy Cardinals bullpen.
The feat can't be minimized. Teams that win the first game are 12-2 in the last 14 World Series.
The Cardinals big guns put the home nine on the scoreboard first. Albert Pujols reached first base in the fourth inning when he was hit in the foot by a pitch from Rangers starter C.J. Wilson. Matt Holliday smoked a pitch to right field for a double that pushed Pujols to third and Lance Berkman hit a hopper down the first base line that got into the outfield and pushed in a pair of runs.
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Leading 2-0 in the top of the fifth, the Cardinals weren't able to make the lead last. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre lined a single to center and catcher Mike Napoli, who is 4-for-5 in his career against Carp, blasted an opposite field homer to tie the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, David Freese continued the Cardinals pattern of finding hits to the opposite field by doubling into the right centerfield gap. Freese went to third on a wild pitch with one out. But catcher Yadier Molina wasn't able to drive him home. With two outs after a Molina strikeout, Nick Punto was walked to bring up Carpenter's spot in the batting order and St. Louis manager Tony La Russa pinch hit with Allen Craig.
Craig, who is expected to be the Cardinals designated hitter when the series shifts to Texas, had to come into the game off the bench on a cold night to face Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando who was throwing 98 mile per hour fastballs. Frankly, Craig looked overmatched as he whiffed at the first two pitches. But he got ahold of a pitch and lofted it down the right field line. Nelson Cruz raced over and fell just short of being able to reach the ball which ended up beneath him as Freese scored what would turn out to be the winning run.
Marc Rzepcznski pitched out of a jam, Arthur Rhodes got a key out and Jason Motte closed it out with no trouble in the ninth to put the Redbirds ahead in their 18th World Series.