Friday, October 21, 2011

Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler Help Rangers Even World Series, 1-1

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rangers 2 Cardinals 1

With just three outs to go and the Cardinal closer, Jason Motte, on the mound, the Texas Rangers appeared headed to a 2-0 deficit in the World Series. St. Louis had taken a 1-0 lead to the ninth on the strength of Jaime Garcia's brilliant seven innings of shutout ball and pinch-hitter Allen Craig's magic bat, which drove in David Freese with the go-ahead run in the seventh. But that was before Ian Kinsler, one of the toughest of the Texas hitters, came to the plate and delivered his second hit of the night, a scratch single to center.

Kinsler, 2-for-3, SB
scored tying run.
Then Kinsler stole second and the Rangers suddenly had life with the tying run on second base. At the plate was Elvis Andrus, not bunting, instead stroking a clean single to right-center. Kinsler stopped at third as Jon Jay whipped the ball back to the infield, but Andrus, seeing Albert Pujols misplay the cutoff throw, headed to second, sliding headlong into the bag.

With nobody out and runners on second and third, the game had quickly changed from a likely win for the Cardinals to, at worst, for the Rangers, a tie game and maybe a lead.

Andrus scored the
game winner.
Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa went to the mound, and, after a short talk with Motte, waved Arthur Rhodes in from the bullpen. Rhodes faced Josh Hamilton, the power hitter who hadn't had a hit in the series, in obvious discomfort due to a pulled groin. Rhodes missed high with a fastball, and Hamilton drove it to deep right. Kinsler scored without a throw. Andrus took third and the game was tied.

Lance Lynn replaced Rhodes, but he too failed to keep the Rangers from scoring. Michael Young lifted a fly to right center and Andrus came home easily with the game winner. Two sac flies, two runs, game over.

After Adrian Beltre grounded out to end the top of the ninth, the Cardinals went quietly in the bottom, Neftali Feliz walking leadoff hitter Yadier Molina, but then calmly striking out Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker. Rafael Furcal flied out to right to end it and the series was tied at one game apiece, heading to Texas for three games.

Garcia's seven innings (3 hits, 1 BB, 7 K) were nearly matched by Colby Lewis of the Rangers, who didn't allow a run, but left with two aboard and two outs in the seventh inning. Reliever Alexi Ogando came in to face Criag, just as he did in game one, and just like in game one, Criag singled. The run was charged to Lewis, but that was all the Cards could get.

The series heads to Arlington, Texas, home of the Rangers, for games three, four and five. Game three is Saturday night, 8:05 pm EDT. Kyle Lohse goes for the Cardinals. Matt Harrison gets the start for Texas.

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