I've watched quite a few ballgames over the years. But I have never seen anything quite like the Cardinals extra innings win Thursday night over the Rangers to force a seventh and deciding game of the World Series.
The Cardinals looked determined to fumble away game six with three errors. But David Freese, who looked like a strong candidate for goat of the game when he dropped an easy pop-up that allowed Texas to take the lead early in the game, made everyone forget about the early gaffe with a towering solo homer to straightaway centerfield in the bottom of the 11th inning to win the game.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Cardinals trailed 1-0 after a dicey top of the first, then took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning when Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer. They fumbled the lead away and the Rangers tied the game at two. The teams traded runs to knot the game at three. In the fifth Texas took a one-run lead. In the sixth the Redbirds tied the game. But in the seventh the Rangers scored three to make it 7-4 and it briefly seemed like the party was going to turn into a funeral.
But the Birds scored a run in the eighth to make it 7-5 and, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and two strikes on the batter, David Freese tied the game at seven with a ball off the right field wall that was as nearly caught as it was close to being a home run.
In the top of the ninth Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer that seemingly finished the Cardinals off by putting Texas up 9-7 with St. Louis out of position players and the pitcher due to hit third.
The Rangers brought southpaw Darren Oliver to face lefties Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay who both got hits. Kyle Lohse pinch hit and bunted the runners over to second and third. Ryan Theriot grounded out to drive one run home but the Cardinals were again down to their last out. Lance Berkman, with two strikes, managed to drive a ball to right center to tie the game. But the Cardinals still couldn't push through for the win ... until the 11th.
After Jake Westbrook came in to retire the Rangers, Freese led off with a blast to the hitter's backdrop in centerfield and the Cardinals lived to play in a deciding seventh game.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Freese
Cardinals Play of the Game: Freese's game winning homer
Lowlight: Matt Holliday had what seemed like his worst game as a Cardinal. He dropped a pop-up in left field, got picked off third base with one out and his team down by two and he was hitless at the plate. To make matters worse, he got his finger jammed in the play at third and might not be available for game seven.