It has been a pitcher’s duel in almost every game of the 2011 World Series, as the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers have been battling the past five games.
With the National League having home field advantage, game one took place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals came out on top with six strong innings from Chris Carpenter, who struck out four and with two runs. Carpenter was brought out for pinch-hitter Allen Craig in the bottom of the sixth, who went on to deliver the go-ahead single to put the Cards up 3-2. It wouldn’t be a series without some controversy, though, as Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre grounded out to third base in the ninth inning for a second out despite the ball potentially hitting off of his foot. Home-plate umpire Jerry Layne decided otherwise, and Jason Motte closed out the game for St. Louis, giving them a 1-0 series lead.
It was dejavu for the Rangers in game two, after Cardinals Craig once again delivered a go-ahead hit off the same pitcher, Alexi Ogando. Texas bounced back this time in the ninth inning with Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, igniting a two run rally off Motte. After a stolen base by Kinsler and a base hit to center field by Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young hit a pair of sacrifice flies to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Neftali Feliz came in to close out the game, as the Rangers took game two to even the World Series a game apiece.
Game three moved to Arlington, Texas, where Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols made history. The slugger joined legends Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth as the only players in history to homer three times in a World Series game. The Cardinals main attraction hit the three home runs amongst five hits, while driving in six runs as St. Louis made a statement against the Rangers with a 16-7 victory. Texas bullpen allowed 11 runs, and the Cardinals took a 2-1 series lead.
Rangers’ pitcher Derek Holland had one of his best performances in game four to tie up the series at two games. Holland held the Cardinals to two hits, both by Lance Berkman, over eight and a third innings as the Rangers came out with a 4-0 victory. He struck out seven and walked only two batters. Slugger Albert Pujols, who had just made history in the previous game, was left going 0 for 4 for St. Louis as they fell to Texas.
As if nail bitters weren’t enough for the 2011 World Series, another close game went down to the wire in game five. Going into the eighth inning tied at two, the Rangers finally had bases loaded with just one out. Then, Mike Napoli drove in two runs with a deep hit to center giving Texas the 4-2 lead. Neftali Feliz came in for Texas in the ninth inning with a runner on first and no outs facing Albert Pujols. Feliz struck out Pujols and gunned down the runner at second for a double play. The Texas closer gained his sixth save of the post-season and gave the Rangers a 3-2 series lead heading back to St. Louis.
With the odds in favor of Texas and being only one game away from a series victory, game six of the 2011 World Series will meet again in St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday, October 26th. If the Cardinals win, game seven would be the following day.