St Louis Cardinals beat Texas Rangers 6-2 in the decisive seventh game and won baseball’s World Series 2011.
Both teams drove in two runs in the first innings, but St Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter then began to dominate as the runs dried up for Texas Rangers.
Allen Craig’s solo home run in the third put St Louis Cardinals ahead before Texas Rangers bullpen contrived to walk in two more runs in the fifth.
St Louis Cardinals added another run in the seventh as they cruised to victory. It was heartbreaking for Texas Rangers, who was beaten by San Francisco Giants in last year’s World Series – and had been one strike away from winning 2011’s Fall Classic on two occasions in Thursday’s epic Game Six.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted:
“Someone has to win, someone has to lose and the Cardinals did it.
“They were the better team.”
The game started badly for Texas Rangers when leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler was caught stealing, but Josh Hamilton and Michael Young drove in a pair of runs as Texas got after Chris Carpenter early on.
St Louis Cardinals drew level in the bottom of the first innings after Rangers starter Matt Harrison walked Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.
The stage was set for Game Six hero David Freese, who steered a double into left field to score both runners and level the score at 2-2.
While Carpenter, pitching on only three days’ rest, threw five scoreless innings, St Louis Cardinals took the lead for the first time when Allen Craig smashed his homer over the right field fence.
Allen Craig was only starting the game as regular left fielder Matt Holliday was ruled out with a sprained right wrist he sustained in Game Six.
St Louis Cardinals threatened another rally in the bottom of the fifth when reliever Scott Feldman walked Allen Craig and hit Albert Pujols with a pitch.
Lance Berkman grounded out, but Texas Rangers gambled by intentionally walking Freese to load the bases for Yadier Molina – and it backfired as Feldman walked in a run.
That prompted Washington to lift Scott Feldman in favour of CJ Wilson – who had started Games One and Five but began his career as a closer – and the left-hander’s first pitch hit Rafael Furcal to walk in another run and leave the Rangers trailing 5-2.
Allen Craig made a great leaping catch in front of the left-field fence to deny Nelson Cruz a home run, while Chris Carpenter was eventually pulled early in the seventh innings as manager Tony La Russa – the master of matching pitchers with specific batters – turned to his bullpen.
“I was hoping to have an opportunity to go ahead and pitch in this game and fortunately it worked out,” said Chris Carpenter.
“It started off a little rough in the first. But I was able to collect myself, make some pitches and our guys did an awesome job to battle back.”
Lance Berkman, a Texan who was a World Series runner-up with Houston Astros in 2005, hustled well to start another St Louis Cardinals rally in the seventh innings, and this time Mike Adams was the Rangers reliever to suffer as Yadier Molina drove in Berkman to make it 6-2.
With the record 47,399 crowd joined by thousands more surrounding Busch Stadium to share St Louis Cardinals’ moment of glory, Jason Motte was handed the chance to come in as closer and retired the side in style.
Fittingly, it was Allen Craig in left field who caught a David Murphy fly ball for the final out as St Louis Cardinals wrapped up their 11th Fall Classic triumph.