“The game could have turned out different,” Harrison said of the blown call. “That’s four runs. [The Cardinals] may or may not have scored that inning.”
Then, three more for the Cardinals in the top of the fifth, and three more for the Rangers in the bottom half, making it 8-6, Cardinals. The difference from that point was that La Russa found a reliever who could stanch the bleeding, right-hander Lance Lynn, while the Rangers’ Ron Washington could not. Lynn entered during the interminable fifth inning, and gave La Russa seven crucial outs in the middle of the game.
Albert Pujols hit three impressive home runs to tie the World Series record, amassing five hits and six RBIs Saturday night as the St. Louis Cardinals romped past the Texas Rangers 16-7 for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. (Oct. 23)
The first of Pujols’s two homers — a majestic, three-run blast that slammed into the facing of the second deck — came against Rangers flamethrower Alexi Ogando, who seemed so unhittable during the American League Championship Series, but who has been battered around by the Cardinals. The second, a two-run shot to left-center on a first-pitch fastball, victimized Mike Gonzalez, a matchup lefty who probably never guessed he would be facing Pujols at any point in this series.
“When Ogando couldn’t come in and get it done,” Washington said, “we knew we were in trouble right there.”
Pujols’s third homer, a solo shot in the ninth, was also against a lefty, veteran Darren Oliver, and sailed into the seats in left.
“You just hope when he comes up,” Oliver said, “there’s no one on base.”
Pujols had gone 0 for 6 with a pair of walks in Games 1 and 2 — the Cardinals had batted .203 in those two games, the Rangers .186 — then created a minor controversy by skipping out of the Cardinals’ clubhouse after Game 2 without speaking to members of the media. (He later said he left because no media members asked to speak with him.)
When Pujols spoke in the interview room after Saturday night’s performance, he mostly deflected questions about himself or his achievement and highlighted his team’s effort. Perhaps he understood better than most that there was nothing he could have said about Game 3 more revealing than the statement he had made with his bat.