2011 World Series, Game Six: Texas Rangers at St. Louis Cardinals

2011 World Series
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Without baseball, we are all bored. As we wait for the MLB and MLBPA to come to terms, we’ll look at the 10 greatest games in MLB history. This is, of course, opinionated, but also fun to see other points of view from baseball fans. There will be 10 separate articles breaking down each game from Number 10 to Number One. Without further ado, here is Number 10.

10. Game Six of the 2011 World Series

The 2011 World Series pitted the St. Louis Cardinals against the Texas Rangers. For the Rangers, this was their second straight appearance in the Fall Classic. This was the Cardinals first appearance since they beat the Detroit Tigers in 2006. For most of the series it was back and forth, with the Rangers looking to close it out in Game Six, leading 3-2. Colby Lewis took the hill for the visiting Rangers against Jaime Garcia.

The Rangers struck first with a base hit from Josh Hamilton to bring in Ian Kinsler. The Cardinals quickly responded on a Lance Berkman two-run homer in the bottom half. Texas quickly tied it up 2-2 in the top of the second and there were no runs scored again until the fourth, where both teams scored to give us a 3-3 score.

Enter the Bullpen

After the sixth, the Cardinals held a 4-3 lead. Cue the insanity because the scoring took off from here. The Rangers had chased Garcia after three innings. Lance Lynn took over in the fifth and started the sixth poorly, giving up back-to-back homers to Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz. After giving up a hit and getting two outs, Octavio Dotel came in to relieve Lynn and served up a wild pitch. Kinsler cashed in the run with a base hit up the middle, and the Rangers held a 7-4 lead.

All was quiet from both sides until the eighth inning when Allen Craig homered off of Derek Holland. It was notable here because throughout the playoffs and first five games, the Rangers had very good pitching from the bullpen. Save the one game where St. Louis put up 16 runs in Game Three, the Rangers had only given up six runs total in the other four games. This included a shutout in Game Four.

The Magic Moment

After ending the inning and a scoreless top of the ninth, the Cardinals needed some magic to keep the series alive. Neftali Feliz, who had been nails for the Rangers as their closer, was summoned from the bullpen. After a strikeout of Ryan Theriot, the magic started to take place. Albert Pujols hit a screamer into the gap, putting him on second base for Berkman, who walked. Runners were on first and second when Feliz struck out Allen Craig, and it looked like the Rangers were going to sneak away with the title after getting into a jam.

What follows is one of the most memorable October moments in baseball history. David Freese stepped in. He had a quiet night to start, going 0-3 with a walk. Things were looking quite bleak when he went down 1-2 in the count as the fans at Busch Stadium held their breath collectively. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Freese lined the pitch into right field, a ball that was egregiously misplayed by Nelson Cruz. Cruz likely didn’t know how close to the wall he was, and stopped to attempt to jump to make the catch. The ball sailed over his head and hit the base of the wall, kicking way back into mid-right field. Pujols scored easily from second, and Berkman from first, as Freese dove into third with a triple.

Free Baseball For Everyone!

Yadier Molina lined out to send the game to extra innings. After an Elvis Andrus single, Hamilton homered off of Jason Motte to make it 9-7. In the bottom of the inning the magic continued. Back-to-back base hits started the Cardinal 10th. Because of a bunt, those runners were now in scoring position with one out. Then Theriot grounded out to make it 9-8. Because of an open base, the Rangers decided not to face Pujols and intentionally put him on. Berkman kept the magic flowing as he tied the game with a single.

Jake Westbrook was called upon to pitch in the top of the 11th and allowed a single to Mike Napoli, but that’s it. This set the stage for the Cardinals to create another memorable moment in the bottom of the inning. David Freese stepped in against Mark Lowe, and on a 3-2 pitch, Freese walked it off, sending it to Game Seven.

Endgame

The magic never wore off for St. Louis, but it did for the Rangers. The Cardinals ultimately won Game Seven and secured their 11th World Series title. Without the heroics from David Freese, though, the Rangers could’ve possibly secured their first title in franchise history. Regardless, Game Six of the 2011 World Series was a great back-and-forth affair that rewarded viewers with a baseball moment they’ll remember forever.

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