Having led the series, 3-2, entering Game 6, the Rangers picked an inopportune time to notch their first back-to-back losses since Aug. 24-25. As for losing back-to-back World Series, no team had done that since the 1991-92 Atlanta Braves. They will have a long winter to attempt to wrap their heads around the fact they were twice one pitch away from winning the World Series in Game 6, only to blow both leads and lose in 11 innings.
“If there’s one thing that happened in this World Series that I’ll look back on, [it] is being so close – just having one pitch to be made and one out to be gotten,” Rangers Manager Ron Washington said, “and it could have been a different story.”
Carpenter, making his 40th start of the season but only the second of his career on short rest, won for the second time in three starts during the series, pushing his career playoff record to 9-2. The first four Rangers batters of the game reached base against him in the first, but Carpenter escaped with only two runs scoring, and the Rangers would not score again.
“I felt like as the game went on, I got stronger,” Carpenter said. “My stuff got better, my command got better, and I was able to make some really good pitches when I had to.”
A reconfigured Cardinals lineup dealing with the sudden absence of regular cleanup hitter Matt Holliday — who was dropped from the roster Friday after spraining his wrist in Game 6 — got along just fine without him. It was Craig, who replaced Holliday in left field, who untied the game in the third inning with a solo, opposite-field homer off Texas starter and loser Matt Harrison, Craig’s fourth go-ahead RBI of the series.
“It’s history – that’s what Tony’s been saying this whole ride,” Craig said. “Just what we did to get here was improbable and unbelievable. [But] when your manager is Tony La Russa, and he’s telling you you made history, you can appreciate it.”
The Cardinals’ two runs in the fifth were practically gift-wrapped by the Rangers, as Scott Feldman and C.J. Wilson combined to walk three batters and plunk two others (including Pujols on an 0-2 count).
The key to the inning was Texas Manager Ron Washington’s decision to intentionally walk Freese with first base open — the ninth intentional walk issued by the Rangers in this series — to load the bases for Yadier Molina, whom Feldman promptly walked on a borderline 3-2 fastball. Wilson, the Rangers’ starter in Games 1 and 5, entered and immediately hit Rafael Furcal with his first pitch, forcing in another run. Suddenly, it was 5-2, Cardinals.