ST LOUIS (Reuters) - The Texas Rangers scored two runs in a daring ninth-inning rally to defeat the St Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Thursday and tie the best-of-seven World Series at 1-1.
The Rangers snatched victory with a scrappy comeback built on two singles and bold baserunning to win a taut pitchers duel and send the series back to Texas all square.
“We’ve been a club that plays nine innings, and tonight we played nine innings,” said Texas manager Ron Washington.
“You’ve got to keep fighting, and we needed to get one here. And I think tonight was one of those great ballgames that I think you will continue to see against the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.
“That’s what you’re in for, so I’ve got to say those of you that have bad hearts, watch yourself.”
Trailing 1-0 heading into the ninth, Texas rallied with lead-off singles from Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who used their speed to advance and then score on sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to overtake the Cardinals.
The game began as a beguiling duel between Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia and Texas right-hander Colby Lewis, who matched zeros through six innings.
St. Louis broke through in the seventh when reserve Allen Craig once again won a showdown against hard-throwing Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando.
Craig, whose sixth-inning pinch single off Ogando provided the winning margin in Game One, delivered another run-scoring, pinch-hit single in the seventh off the Dominican to score David Freese for the first run of the game.
The formidable St. Louis bullpen took over from Garcia, who yielded only three hits in seven shutout innings, and looked poised to seize a 2-0 series lead with fireballing Jason Motte on the mound in the ninth.
Kinsler blooped a single to start the decisive frame and then stole second base just ahead of a bullet throw from catcher Yadier Molina.
Andrus followed with a single to center and when outfielder Jon Jay’s throw got past cut-off man Albert Pujols, Andrus alertly took second base, putting men on second and third.
Reliever Arthur Rhodes replaced Motte and gave up a fly to deep right by Hamilton that scored Kinsler and moved Andrus to third. Lance Lynn came on to face Young, whose fly ball to center brought home Andrus with the go-ahead run.
“They caught a break with a blooper, but after that they did some good, classic baseball stuff to make two guys come around and score,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
“They deserve credit for how they played in the ninth inning offensively.”
Reliever Mike Adams picked up the win, with closer Neftali Feliz earning the save in the ninth. Motte was charged with the loss in a game of only 11 hits of which Texas had five.
Hamilton, who has struggled at the plate as he deals with injuries, said the victory showed a lot about the Rangers.
“We have the attitude that until the last pitch is thrown, the last out is made, we’re going to keep fighting.
“It’s fun because our team is like that and the Cardinals are like that. So it makes for a good ballgame.”
The series shifts to Texas for the next set of games starting Saturday at Rangers Ballpark, when left-hander Matt Harrison takes to the mound against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse.
Editing by Ian Ransom