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A Comeback For The Ages, Cards Force Game Seven
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Oct 28 2011 @ 5:46 pm In St. Louis Cardinals | 1 Comment
I will preface this article with a request. I ask that you please forgive me in advance if I ramble at any point in this in this article. I am still buzzing from last night’s game six of the World Series and will do my best to deliver an insightful and intellectual article. Game six of the 2011 Fall Classic had so many great moments that I am uncertain as to where to begin this article. It may reflect the back and forth, or better yet, the up and down nature of last night’s emotional rollercoaster. I will admit that after watching the Cardinals comeback once last night only to lose the lead again I conceded and chose to go to the gym to work out my frustrations. 
If ratings for baseball are down compared to recent years as I understand they are then shame on those “fans” who are not watching because they are missing something great. And it’s not just the World Series. Going back to the last day of the regular season when the outcome of four different games would determine the fate of four different teams and ultimately produce one of the most exciting days in the sport’s history. The division series produced three game 5’s and so far there has been thirteen one run games in the post season, the most in post season history. It has culminated into this, the 2011 World Series and a record setting game three for Albert Pujols, two one run nail biters and then last night’s game six that is sure to go into the annals of World Series history as one of the greatest, if not the greatest game ever played in the history of the event. What we are witnessing is nothing short of amazing!
The St. Louis Cardinals pulled off one of the most dramatic and breathtaking comebacks in the franchises’ history last night to force a game seven. And I thought I had witnessed the greatest comeback in Cardinals’ history when in 1985, then Cardinals’ first baseman Jack Clark hit a 3 run HR in the ninth inning of game six of the NL Championship Series to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers to send the Cardinals to the World Series and was the source of Jack Buck‘s famous call “Go crazy folks, go crazy.“ But when you consider the circumstances surrounding last night’s heroics by third baseman David Freese, it may have been even greater. 
In ‘85 the Cardinals overcame a 4-1 deficit to tie the score at four in the seventh inning only to have the Dodgers take the lead 5-4 with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. That set the stage for Clark’s heroics in the top of the ninth inning. Had the Cardinals lost that game the series would have been tied 3-3, as it was the Cardinals won the series 4-2.
Given the circumstances, the drama and the fashion in which the Cardinals pulled off this epic win makes last night’s victory probably the most unfathomable of them all. Had the Cardinals lost last night the series would have been over and the Texas Rangers would have celebrated the franchises first World Series Championship on Cardinals terrritory. The Redbirds trailed five times in game six and were down to their last strike on two occasions.
In a series that was billed as a “battle between the bullpens” it was everything but that on this night. The comeback began in the eighth inning when Allen Craig, who had taken over for the injured Matt Holliday hit a HR off of Rangers’ pitcher Derek Holland who had shut the Cardinals’ out on Sunday in Arlington.
With the score 7-5 in the ninth inning, two on, two outs and a two strike count David Freese hit a long fly ball over the head of right fielder Nelson Cruz for a game tying two run triple off Rangers‘ reliever Neftali Feliz to tie the score at 7-7.
Immediately the Rangers responded with a two run HR by Josh Hamilton (his first in the post season) off Cardinals’ reliever Jason Motte in the top of tenth to take a 9-7 lead. But the never say die Cardinals showed their resilience again in their half of the tenth when they scored on a fielder’s choice to make the score 9-8 Rangers. With deuces wild (2 on, 2 outs, 2 balls and 2 strikes) the Cardinals tied the score on a Lance Berkman‘s single to center. Berkman, who went 3 for 5 in the game with 3 RBI’s and was recently installed in the cleanup spot to protect Albert Pujols, made Texas pay for the intentional walk to Pujols prior to his game tying single.
But this night belonged to David Freese, the hometown kid who actually quit baseball during his senior year of high school in St. Louis. Freese, on a 3-2 count from the Rangers’ Mark Lowe, hit a towering shot to straight away center in the eleventh inning for his fifth HR of the post season and a dramatic 10-9 come from behind victory for the Cardinals that sent shock waves through the Rangers dugout as well as throughout all of St. Louis. The walk off homerun was the first in the Cardinals’ illustious World Series history.
With the win the Cardinals became the first team to come back from a two run deficit twice in a post season game. They’re also the first team to score in the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh innings of a post season game. Freese is the first player in World Series history to have a pair of tying or go ahead hits in the ninth inning or later of the same game. Texas, one strike away from a World Series title on two separate occasions in the game became the first team in post season history to blow three potential saves in the same game.
The series will be decided tonight at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The home team has won the last 8 game sevens in World Series play. The last time a visiting team won game seven of the World Series was in 1979 when the Pirates beat the Orioles in Baltimore.
Conversely, the Cardinals have been involved in five game sevens in the World Series and have won four of them, all in St. Louis. Their only game seven loss was to the Detroit Tigers in 1968 in St. Louis.
While those statistics will not have any bearing on tonight’s game in St. Louis I have a hunch the current Cardinals’ are very aware of them and are focused on continuing their winning ways in game sevens.
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