Editor recaps World Series run

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Jordan Larimore, associate editor

Jordan Larimore

 

You’re probably already aware that the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series title in team history a week ago today.

I am concerned, however, that there are folks out there who may have forgotten how the Cards got there. I thought it might be nice to remind our readers, Redbird lovers and haters alike, of the wild ride the National League’s most successful franchise took in the 2011 World Series.

 

GAME 1

The Cardinals rode their horse of the postseason in the World Series’ opening contest, containing, for now, the potent offense of the Texas Rangers on their way to a 3-2 victory. 

Carpenter’s six inning, two run start earned him his club best eighth career postseason victory, passing Hall of Famer Bob Gibson in that category. 

With the game tied at 2, Carpenter was ready to return to the mound to pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

Manager Tony LaRussa instead decided to have Allen Craig pinch hit for him. The second-year player delivered with a go-ahead single and the Cardinals took a 1-0 series lead in the Fall Classic.

 

GAME 2

In the series’ second game, the Cardinals handed Texas a win with an inexcusable eighth-inning gaffe, deemed a “miscommunication” between LaRussa and bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist. Long story short, the pitcher LaRussa expected to trot out of the bullpen, upon making a pitching change, was not the one who arrived at the mound in the eighth inning. 

The mixup kept LaRussa from getting the matchup he wanted, and it burned the Cards. Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, off of left-handed specialist, drove in the go-ahead and eventual game-winning runs, and for one of the only times in the series, momentum seemed to shift to one side as Ron Washington’s club was to head back home to The Ballpark in Arlington with the series tied at a game apiece.

 

GAME 3

The third game of the series saw the Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols join some very exclusive company. He became just the third player in MLB history to hit three homeruns in a World Series game, joining Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. 

Pujols finished with six RBIs and five hits in one of the most dominant performances in World Series history. The Rangers did not bend however, as they put up seven runs on the Cards’ first three pitchers of the game. Pujols singlehandedly propelled his team to a 16-7 victory.

 

GAME 4

Texas found its stride in games four and five, as Derek Holland blanked the same offensive unit that scored 16 times and recorded 15 hits the night before. The crafty southpaw went eight and one-third innings, recording seven punchouts against only two walks, as well as surrendering only two hits. 

Flame-throwing closer Neftali Feliz slammed the door shut for the last two outs, as Edwin Jackson was saddled with the loss, and the Rangers again evened the series, this time at 2-2.

 

GAME 5

Both teams’ game one starters returned for what many expected to be the series’ most pivotal matchup. This time however, Carpenter was outdueled on the scoreboard, though his performance was largely more dominant than Wilson’s. 

The normally reliable reliever Octavio Dotel was roughed up, allowing two runs while only recording one out. This allowed the Rangers to pull away, eventually for a 4-2 win, putting themselves one victory away from the franchise’s first championship in its history. 

 

GAME 6

Few would have believed a game in this World Series would be more entertaining than Pujols’ heroics and the Rangers’ resilience in game three. Any of those people would have been proved as wrong as could be. With the game tied at four going into the seventh inning, the Rangers plated three runs in their half. 

Texas looked poised to capture its first World Series title. The Cardinals clawed to within two with a run in the bottom of the eighth. 

Cardinals closer Jason Motte held the Rangers in the ninth before second-year third baseman and St. Louis native David Freese hit a game-tying triple in the bottom of the ninth to keep the Redbirds’ hopes alive. With the game now tied at eight, Jason Motte returned to pitch the top of the 10th inning. Rangers’ center fielder Josh Hamilton once again put the Cardinals in a hole with a crushing two-run homerun off of Motte to go up 10-8. 

Once again, the Cardinals would come to the plate facing elimination. Again however, the Redbirds rallied, scoring two runs to tie the game in the 10th on Lance Berkman’s single. Career starter Jake Westbrook entered in relief in the 11th inning, allowing one hit, but finally stopping the Rangers bats. 

Freese again came to the plate in the bottom half of the inning. The man who was acquired in the Cardinals trade of Jim Edmonds in 2007 achieved a feat only Edmonds himself, and one of the men in the booth for the broadcast of the game had done so for the Cardinals. In extra innings, Freese belted a walk-off homerun, evening the series at three games, forcing a decisive seventh contest. 

It was the first time since 2004 that a Cardinal had hit such a homerun in an extra-inning playoff game, when Edmonds’ shot against the Astros in game six of the NLCS forced a seventh game.

 

GAME 7

Tony LaRussa brought his ace back out to the hill for the deciding game, but Rangers manager Washington refused to do so, sticking with scheduled starter Matt Harrison. The Rangers got to Carpenter for two runs in the first inning, but the horse of the Redbirds’ pitching rotation got rather stingy from then on. Over his next five frames of work, Carpenter did not allow a run. 

In a rather anti-climactic game, compared to game six’s thriller, Cardinals catcher and shortstop, Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal respectively, paced the offense with two hits. Two more RBIs from Freese and St. Louis secured its 11th World Series title in the organization’s history. Freese was named MVP of the series for his heroics in the final two games, and was given a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette as a trophy for his award.