ST. LOUIS - A strike away from winning their first World Series in the ninth inning on Thursday.
A strike away from winning in the 10th.
After blowing saves in the ninth and 10th of
Game 6, the Texas Rangers never got close in Game 7.
Well, the first four hitters reached against Chris Carpenter and two scored, but that lead — their only lead of the night — lasted all of 23 pitches until David Freese, World Series MVP, hit a two-run double.
The Rangers moved from Washington D.C. and were re-named in 1961, losing 100 of 161 games.
They lost 100 the next three seasons too.
After winning 96 games this season and losing to the San Francisco Giants a year ago, the Rangers were expected to win this Series.
Instead they went down to their fourth defeat.
Clubhouse attendants covered the lockers in the Rangers clubhouse to protect clothes and uniform from the champagne showers in the ninth on Thursday. Then after Freese’s two-run, two-strike triple they tore everything down and removed the champagne.
When Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 10th, they put the wrapping up again, only to rip it down when the Cards tied the score.
Said Rangers GM Jon Daniels: “I went into the laundry room to compose myself for a second and there were the champagne bottles.”
It shall be a long winter for the Rangers.
Chris Carpenter’s last start on three days rest was
Game 2 of the National League Division Series when he allowed the first four Philadelphia Phillies to reach going double, walk, single and double. The Phillies scored three times in the first and once in the second and he was gone after three innings. In
Game 7 against the Rangers, the first four reached as Ian Kinsler walked (and was picked off by Yadier Molina when he broke for second, stopped and slipped), Elvis Andrus walked, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young each doubled ... Pitching coach Dave Duncan came out after an Albert Pujols error in the second put runners on second and third, telling Carpenter to throw more breaking balls. The former Jays No. 1 pick retired eight of the next nine Rangers hitters ... Carpenter has nine post-season wins, a Cards record, passing Hall of Famer Bob Gibson earlier ... Carpenter’s not in Gibson’s league, but six innings while allowing three doubles, three singles and two runs on three days rest? Impressive.
Fear not for the Rangers as initial reports say they signed a $3 billion, 20-year TV deal with FOX sports Southwest, which breaks down to $150 million a year or $1 million per game. Later reports say that the deal is in the $1.5-$1.6 billion per year. Which makes them contenders to keep lefty C.J. Wilson, contenders for top free agents such as Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and right-hander Yu Darvish, who starts for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Game 1 of the best-of-three Pacific League semifinal against the Siebu Lions. The winner faces the Soft Bank Hawks in the championship.
The Cards went up 5-2 in the fifth and never put wood to ball: Scott Feldman walked Allen Craig and hit Pujols with one out and an out later walked Freese to loaded the bases and Molina to force in a run as theme music from Walker Texas Ranger played. Then, Wilson came on and plunked Rafael Furcal with a pitch. It was the first HBP with the bases loaded in a World Series Game 7 since Baltimore’s Dennis Martinez hit Pirates Bill Robinson ... Pujols and Craig are the first set of teammates to have three homers in a single Series since Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent of the 2002 San Francisco Giants ... Manager Tony La Russa made a record 76 pitching changes during post-season play. The old mark was 62 ... The Rangers were 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.
A Cards fan waving a “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Freese” after third baseman Freese hit a two-run double in the first.
King Bud on King Albert
Where does commissioner Bud Selig think free-agent Pujols should play? “I hope Albert stays in St. Louis, but that’s his judgment to make.”
Leaving a post-game reception after Game 7 of the 1987 World Series I spotted then Cards manager Whitey Herzog talking to people wearing cardinal blazers.
The Minnesota Twins had knocked off the Cards 4-2 in the deciding game.
After waiting a few of minutes to congratulate Herzog on his season, the manager came over and said: “Can you imagine that? The guy just said to me ‘tough year, Whitey, like two years ago, tough year.’ ”
In 1985, the Cards were victim to a bad call by first base umpire Don Denkinger as lead-off man Jorge Orta reached first. First baseman Jack Clark misplayed a pop as the Kansas City Royals rallied to win Game 6 on Dane Iorg’s single.
The next the night the Royals dismantled the Cards 11-0.
“How many teams at the start of spring training would like to play in Game friggin’ 7 of the World friggin’ Series?, Herzog asked. “I’ll take my chances getting to Game friggin’ 7 every year.”
This time the Cards didn’t have a “tough” finish.