Rangers rally with a two-run ninth, knotting the series 1-1

With a chance to take a commanding two games to none lead in the 2011 Fall Classic, the Cardinals coughed up a one-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, allowing the visiting Rangers to even the series 1-1.

Jaime Garcia turned in his best outing of the postseason by tossing seven shutout innings while allowing just three singles, walking one and fanning seven. Garcia retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced before surrendering a walk to Ian Kinsler in the fourth inning.

The dominant performance went to waste, as veteran left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes was charged with a blown save after Jason Motte allowed two hits and two runs, one of which was earned.

Colby Lewis had the Cardinals off guard all night. Lewis weaved his way in and out of trouble in his 6 2/3 innings of work. With two outs in the home half of the third, shortstop Rafeal Furcal roped a double to right field, but center fielder John Jay was unable to drive Furcal in, who was stranded at second.

The Cardinals knocked Lewis out of the game in the seventh after a pair of singles from third baseman David Freese and second baseman Nick Punto. Manager Tony La Russa called back Garcia in favor of pinch-hitter Allen Craig. Rangers skipper Ron Washington countered by bringing in hard-throwing righty Alexi Ogando. But Craig, as he did in Game 1, got the best of Ogando by lining an RBI single to right-center field, scoring Freese to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.

With three outs standing between the Cardinals and a two-game lead in the series, the Rangers offense suddenly awoke. Kinsler led off the top of the ninth with a single to center field, and stole second, narrowly beating Yadier Molina’s throw. With a runner in scoring position and nobody out, the Rangers were destined to score. Shortstop Elvis Andrus singled off of Motte, advancing Kinsler to third base. Motte was then relieved by Rhodes, who allowed left fielder Josh Hamilton to tie the game with an RBI SAC fly. The Rangers weren’t finished there. Another pitching change by La Russa brought righty Lance Lynn into the game fresh off of the 60-day disabled list. First baseman Michael Young produced the winning run with an RBI SAC fly to center, scoring Andrus from third.

After walking Molina to open the bottom of the ninth, closer Neftali Feliz retired the next three Cardinals hitters to secure the win, sending the series to Arlington.

Notes:

  • Garcia was the first Mexican-born starter in the World Series since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
  • For the second time this postseason, Garcia tossed seven innings.
  • This World Series features two teams who hit into the most double plays during the regular season. …The Cardinals were first and the Rangers were second.
  • Albert Pujols has yet to record a hit…He’s gone a combined zero-for-six, with a run scored and a walk.
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