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Comedy of errors turns thriller as Cardinals win in 11 innings

Oct 28, 2011, 12:46 AM EDT

2011 World Series Game 6 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Five errors. Two wild pitches. The most obviously foreshadowed bunt into a double play in big-league history.

The Cardinals scored in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings to beat the Rangers 10-9 and send the World Series to a Game 7, but it wasn’t exactly a classic.

Sure, there were classic moments in Game 6, no doubt. David Freese‘s game-tying triple with St. Louis down to its final strike in the bottom of the ninth, Josh Hamilton‘s two-run shot in the 10th and Freese’s walkoff homer gave us the most thrilling conclusion to a World Series game in a decade. Also, the back-to-back homers from Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz in the seventh were huge, as was Mike Napoli‘s stunning pickoff of Matt Holliday to help preserve a tie for the Rangers in the sixth.

The final three innings was baseball as exciting as it can be. The first eight, well, they were rather iffy.

Freese, with his eyes closed, having a popup go off his glove (fortunately for him, it didn’t hit him in the head afterwards) would have been a lasting image if not for the comeback. Holliday dropping an easy fly because he was worried Rafael Furcal would run into him. Michael Young botching two plays at first base for Texas.

And there were non-errors. Freese certainly should have handled a foul popup in the third, but he was afraid of running into the wall. Nelson Cruz, likewise, was scared of the wall in right when he came up short on Freese’s two-run triple in the ninth.

There was also a mental boner. Shortstop Elvis Andrus turned in one in the eighth that could have cost the Rangers the game prior to Freese’s heroics.

With one on and two out, Daniel Descalso hit a routine grounder to short in the eighth. The Rangers had him played to pull, so second baseman Ian Kinsler was shaded towards first. Still, Kinsler busted it over to second and would have retired Yadier Molina easily had Andrus made the throw there. Instead, Andrus looked to second, delayed and then threw a one-hopper to first too late to retire Descalso.

Jon Jay followed that was a single to right, loading the bases with the Cardinals down 7-5. The rally ended there, though. Furcal, maybe the easiest out of all of the ones the Cards have sent to the plate in the series, tapped the first pitch back to the mound.

The bunt/double play was even more gruesome. The Rangers had pitcher Colby Lewis coming up with runners on first and second and none out in the second. The Cards had no doubt that the bunt was coming and had Albert Pujols and Freese even with the mound on the pitch and charging from there. Lewis missed the first bunt attempt and then connected on the second for as routine of a double play as one will ever see in that situation.

Given the circumstances, manager Ron Washington should have just let him strike out. The Rangers got a run in the inning anyway, as Kinsler followed with an RBI double. They may well have added another one or two had Lewis made just one out instead of two.

Fortunately, the late-inning spectacle was glorious enough to erase some of the memories of the bad baseball that came before. And now both teams have a chance at redemption as we head into Game 7 on Friday.

  1. fusseltier - Oct 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    the game was fixed and needs to be investigated.
    its impossible for that kind of poor playing to happen unless it was intentional.
    its all for drag the series out and make more money.
    what a disgrace.

    • spudchukar - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      Glad I do not live in your head Fuss.

  2. cshearing - Oct 28, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    NOt sure why a “classic” needs to be a pitching and defensive gem. It just means exciting and memorable to me, and that game had that in spades.

    fusseltier is either a good troll, or lacks any recognizable cognitive function.

  3. jhastrello - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Ranger fan here, who watched the entire game. While I certainly thought (several times) that the Rangers were about to celebrate the Championship – I applaud the fortitude of the Cardinals and the entire game. I think that the early game problems were caused by both the weather (cold) and ‘nerves’. Then both teams settled in and gave us a classic.

    Looking forward to a Great Game 7, and I will be pulling for the Rangers. But let the better team win.

    • paperlions - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      I don’t want the better team to win, I want the Cardinals to win :-)

  4. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Exciting game and all….I must say this, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th how does Nelson Cruz not give a better effort on that ball?

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      Don’t care. The Can O’ Corn that Holliday and Freese drops trumps it.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        Well yeah, they were terrible….I’m just saying given the circumstance, how do you not sell out on the play?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        Again…don’t care. Cruze’s play was a shot to Right against the wall.
        Holliday and Freese BOTH drop Can O’ Corns.
        So I guess all I can say is….Baseball Gods?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        I wouldn’t expect you to care. After all, you are a Cards fan. I’m sure there are Rangers fans out there who are wondering the same thing.

      • paperlions - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        Apparently, Cruz has a thing about running into walls and is known to play tentatively near them…..but I agree…if there was ever a time when you should say “screw it” and really go after a ball….it was then.

    • jhastrello - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:51 AM

      I have to agree with you. I watched that replay a number of times last night, and thought that he simply was far too tentative. If it would have been Hamilton (or any number of other players – including those on the Cardinal team), they would have crashed head first into it knowing the implications. There are those times (as Hamilton did on his HR with a pulled groin) where you simply go ‘full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes’!

  5. stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Thanks Hastrello. But just so you know…the Rangers fortitude is what allowed them to be up 3 games to 2 while only leading ELEVEN total innings going into game 6. I have been talking about it for the last few days. The Rangers led a COMBINED 11 innings after 5 games and yet…were up 3 – 2.
    You guys have been clutch…and last night was no different.
    Good luck to you tonight…I just hope the Cardinals have more of it.

    • jhastrello - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      Good comments and analysis. I certainly hope that the Rangers can do it one more time. Best outcome would be one team or the other taking the bull by the horns and having the same agressiveness that was shown last night.

      For one of the teams, tonight will certainly be: ‘Won and Done!’.

      Go Rangers.

  6. Jonny 5 - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    “Cards in 7″ doesn’t sound so crazy anymore does it?

    That was totally awesome. That is all.

  7. spudchukar - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    No matter the outcome tonight, the Cards have extended the 2011 season to the max. Thanks, guys. Couldn’t be prouder.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      Without a doubt. I still have goose bumps.

  8. baredon - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Twice the Rangers were one strike from WS win.

    And what’s the deal playing for an out on first base and letting a run score. As it played out, if they had cut the man down at home, they would be still celebrating….

    Hell of a game, but Rangers are NOT going to win tonight… They had two chances…

  9. robtsf - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I’m a lifeling Giants fan, but I must say that was the most amazing game of baseball I have ever watched. Wow. Echoes what my coaches over the years have always said, never give up. Cardinals are going to do this, and they deserve it. I just loved the look on Nolan Ryan’s face after Freeze’s home run. I want to see that again in game 7.

    Go get-em Cards, you got this one.

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