Words cannot effectively describe Game 6 of the World Series. No story could be scripted any better. The improbable became reality. St. Louis’ hometown hero, David Freese, had insanely clutch moments, including a 429-foot bomb to send the series to a Game 7.
After seven innings, Texas led 7-4 and were just 6 outs from their first ever World Championship.
I was ready to headline my story as, “Cards drop the ball, lose Series”.
In the 8th inning, the Cardinals foreshadowed their heroics. Outfielder Allen Craig hit a homerun to shrink the deficit to 2 runs. Unfortunately, shortstop Rafael Furcal stranded the bases the loaded to end the inning.
Down to three outs.
I had walked by the visiting clubhouse en route to the field after the eighth inning. The champagne was on ice.
Closer Neftali Feliz struck out Ryan Theriot to begin the 9th inning. Two outs away.
The crowd gave an overwhelming standing ovation to Albert Pujols, who could have been stepping in the batters box for the last time as a St. Louis Cardinal.
Pujols laced a double into left field and the roars continued.
Grizzled veteran Lance Berkman drew a four-pitch walk.
Craig had a chance to top his eighth inning homerun. Instead, he was called out on strikes. One out away.
Freese dug in. The crowd had faith. Ranger fans were on the brink of pandemonium. Freese swung through a 98 MPH fastball and Feliz was one strike away.
At this point, I could not believe the Cardinals were going to lose the World Series. They had fought from 10.5 games back on August 24th to win the Wild Card. They upset both the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers. Somehow they were one strike from losing the series on home turf.
Feliz threw Freese another “heater”, as he called it. Freese smoked it down the right field line. Pujols scores, Berkman scores and we were tied. Are you kidding me? Down to their final strike and Freese ties the game. Unbelievable.
Feliz pitched his way out of the inning and we were headed to extras.
The disappointment on Ranger fans’ faces was priceless. I just smiled as if I cared about their frustration.
Well, when Josh Hamilton knocked a two-run homerun off of Jason Motte in the 10th inning, they had regained their confidence. Ah, the relief of being back on top.
Again, three outs away.
Texas manager Ron Washington called on veteran left-hander Darren Oliver.
Daniel Descalso fought off four foul balls before a single into right field. Jon Jay looped a Texas leaguer (pun intended) into left and suddenly the Cardinals were fighting back. A sacrifice, an infield ground out and an intentional walk brought Berkman to the dish.
Again, The Rangers were one strike away. Berkman delivered. He singled into right-center field scoring both Descalso and Jay.
Come’ on. This is a game, not a dream. Unbelievable.
Freese led off the bottom of the 11thinning. The game had eclipsed four and a half hours long. Mark Lowe threw Freese a 3-2 changeup. Freese hit it 429 feet onto the centerfield grass. We were going to game number seven. The homerun was eerily reminiscent of Jim Edmonds’ homerun in Game 6 of the 2004 National League Championship Series.
Busch Stadium was rocking. The season would come down to a deciding Game 7. Facing elimination twice with two outs and down to their last strike–they came through. Clutch? Amazing? Unbelievable?
I do not know. Nothing of this kind, at this magnitude, has ever happened. The game, as Pujols said was “unbelievable and why you play the game”.
Sometimes words are not needed to explain magic.