Sunday, October 23, 2011

Albert Pujols Socks Three Homers as Cardinals Take Game Three, 16-7, Lead World Series, Two Games to One

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cardinals 16 Rangers 7

The promised offensive fireworks that fans were awaiting finally showed up in game three of the World Series.

Texas batters belted out 13 hits, but the more efficient Cardinals had fifteen, and scored sixteen runs as Albert Pujols had a record-setting night in St. Louis' 16-7, game three victory over the Rangers.

Pujols: 5-for-6, 3 HR,
6 RBI, 4 Runs.
On Allen Craig's first inning solo home run, the Cardinals led 1-0,, entering the fourth inning, when the hits began coming faster than a Texas tornado. Pujols led off the inning with a single, his first hit of the series, but was forced out at second on a controversial play that opened the floodgates for the Cardinals.

Matt Holliday was ruled safe at first on Ian Kinsler's errant throw that pulled Texas first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag. Replays showed that Napoli applied a deft swipe tag to Holliday before he reached the base. The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out after a single by Lance Berkman, a David Freese double that plated Holliday, and an intentional walk to Yadier Molina. Jon Jay sent a two-hopper to Napoli, who threw wide of home plate, allowing both Berkman and Freese home, and Ryan Theriot added a run when he singled to left, getting Molina easily to the plate for a 5-0 Cardinal lead.

The Rangers fought back in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own, a solo shot by Michael Young and a two-run bomb by Nelson Cruz. St. Lous led, 5-3.

In the fifth, Pujols again led off with a single and came around to score on Freese's bases-loaded ground out. Molina drove in two more with a double down the right field line making the score 8-3, but the Rangers again scored three in their at-bat, making the score 8-6, which was as close as the Rangers would get because Pujols, with two singles already in the books, was about to set off on a record-setting night.

Pujols socked a three-run homer in the sixth, far into the left field seats, hammered a two-run homer in the seventh and added a ninth inning solo shot to complete the scoring for St. Louis, joining Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to ever hit three home runs in a single World Series game. His 14 total bases set a major league mark as the Cardinal slugger finished with five hits in six at-bats, three home runs, six RBI and four runs. His four hits over four consecutive innings - 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th - set another record. His five hits and six RBI in a single World Series game also tied records. It was an incredible display of power hitting, truly an historic event. The 16 Cardinal runs set a franchise record, no mean feat for a team which is looking to win its 11th World Series.

With a two games to one lead in hand, the Cardinals take on the Rangers again on Sunday night, with Edwin Jackson facing the Rangers' Derek Holland, who last won on October 1 when the Rangers beat Tampa Bay in the divisional series, 8-6. Since then, Holland has started three more games, but hasn't lasted longer than 4 innings and change, his playoff ERA at 5.27. Jackson also has a playoff win - October 5 - and two no decisions, he too being bounced early in his last two starts. Jackson's ERA has ballooned to 5.84 during the playoffs. Game time in Texas is 8:05 pm EDT.

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