The World Series is coming down to pitching and defense. The Texas Rangers shut out for 8 innings made a 9th inning comeback againstSt Louis closer Jason Motte who has saved five games this post season.
Both starting pitchers had great performances. Texas starter Colby Lewis pitched 6.2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks. St Louis starter Jaime Garcia went 7 innings allowing no runs and just 3 hits with 7 strikeouts.
Defense especially that of the Texas middle infield of Kinsler and Andrus who made an amazing 4th inning double play and equally impressive fielder’s choice to end the 6th inning.
The Cardinals scored first on a 2 out 7th inning rally. Lewis gave up a single David Freese and a second to Nick Punto. LaRussa sent in Allen Craig to hit for Garcia. Ron Washington countered by bringing in Alexi Ogando to set up a rematch of game one. The result was the same when Craig singled to score Punto to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Ian Kinsler hit a bloop single to leadoff the 9th against Motte and stole second with Elvis Andrus at the plate. Andrus singled to right to send Kinsler to third and Andrus took advantage of a poor throw by Jon Jay which was touched but not cut off by Albert Pujols to take second. At this point Tony LaRussa made what I think was his first mistake of the series. He took out Motte and brought in Arthur Rhodes to pitch to Josh Hamilton. Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to right center which scored Kinsler. LaRussa then took out Rhodes and sent in Lance Lynn to pitch to Michael Young who also flied to right center to bring home Andrus to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. For Motte who had pitched 9 post season innings giving up just 1 hit and no runs it was his first setback. Of course he was not helped by his defense because Andrus took second and took away the chance of a double play.
The Cardinals blew a number of chances to score more runs and left 9 men on base some of which were do to bad execution on the part of the team.
Neftali Feliz gave up a leadoff walk in the 9th but shut down the Cardinals to secure the win. The Rangers scored 2 runs on 5 hits and committed one error and the Cardinals 1 run on 6 hits with no errors. Texas reliever Mike Adams got the win and Feliz the save while Motte took the loss.
The Series goes to Arlington where the resurgent Rangers who were one inning from going down 2-0 will be able to take advantage of their ballpark where they score an average of 2 runs more than they do on the road. The Cardinals will start Kyle Lohse who went 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season against the Ranger’s Matt Harrison who went 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA.
So far this has been a battle of pitchers and great defense. Will the return to Texas change this dynamic or will the big bats come out? We’ll see what happens Saturday.