Cardinals secure World Series over Rangers in Game 7
The St Louis Cardinals secured an 11th World Series success as they beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 in the seventh and final game between the two teams.
Tony La Russa's side's achievement was all the more impressive considering that during Thursday night's sixth game, one of the most memorable in World Series history, they were twice a hit away from losing before they somehow recorded an 10-9 extra-innings win.
They did not have to leave it so late this time around, though, with Jason Motte pitching them home at the top of the ninth, saving them having to bat the game out.
The crowning moment came when David Murphy holed out to Allan Craig, but the decisive plays came in a catastrophic fifth inning for Texas.
Trailing by one at 3-2, they walked four batters and hit another, allowing the Cards to move three clear – a deficit that was improved when Lance Berkman got home.
David Freese, the star of yesterday's incredible rescue mission, was named as the series MVP, and his performance was on the lips of many of the record crowd of 47,399 inside Busch Stadium when the game started in as thrilling a manner as the sixth had ended.
Texas, who have now lost two successive World Series, were first to the plate and raced into a 2-0 lead at the top of the first. Josh Hamilton, whose two-run home run looked to have won the Rangers the series yesterday, drove well and sent Elvis Andrus through from first, before a Michael Young double sent Hamilton in.
But, as in Game 6, St Louis responded. Matt Harrison walked Albert Pujols and Berkman and, when Freese clubbed long, Pujols and Berkman were able to canter through to level the scores.
Texas failed to take advantage of a two-on, two-out situation in the top second, and found themselves behind in the bottom third when Craig creamed Harrison for his third homer of the series.
Chris Carpenter was keeping it tight for the Cards and pitched a third inning without score, while his side struck out despite having the second and third bases loaded in the bottom fourth.
They took a three-run lead in the bottom fifth, though, as Texas' pitchers fell apart. Scott Feldman walked Craig and Albert Pujols and then, after Berkman advanced the runners, Freese was intentionally walked and Yadier Molina unintentionally walked, Craig got home.
Feldman was immediately hooked but replacement CJ Lewis fared little better, hitting Rafael Furcal with his first pitch and allowing Pujols in for 5-2. An outstanding catch from Craig – hauling a Nelson Cruz hit from back over the fence – then allowed Carpenter to pitch out a fifth clean inning and, when he was retired in the seventh, he had conceded two from 91. St Louis then moved 6-2 ahead, Berkman going in after a fifth RBI of the series from Yadier Molina.
Lance Lynn took to the mound for the Cards at the top of the eighth and quickly struck out three hitters, leaving his side a potential three outs away from the title.
The Cards struck out as quick as they arrived at the plate at the bottom of the eighth, keen to get the outs they needed, and they snapped up the first when Cruz found Jon Jay's hands off Motte.
Mike Napoli, one of the stars of the series, was then ground out and, when Murphy found Craig's hands, the game was up.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, La Russa said: "It's unbelieving, amazing, incredible. "The teams we have played, we have had so much respect for, but I will tell you one thing. We were losing 1-0 to Chicago at a game here, the crowd started cheering and we came back to win 2-1. It's for the fans.
"The pledge we made ourselves was not to get distracted, just to enjoy it.
"Well it`s happened, and we`re going to enjoy it."
Published: October 29, 2011 04:00 AM