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Big League Stew

Deep thoughts: No-doubles defense hurts Rangers in 10th

Big League Stew

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Fox announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver warned 'em. They warned the Texas Rangers that their outfielders were playing too deep, and would be in no position to throw a runner out at the plate if Lance Berkman hit a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning.

"They're too deep for their arms to do any good," McCarver said

Nah, the Rangers said. We'll put our outfielders deep — very deep, practically on the Busch Stadium warning track, or even in the Mississippi River — to prevent a ball from reaching the gap, or down the line. A double in either place would score a pair of runs, which would lose the game for Texas on the spot. After all, look what had happened in the ninth, when David Freese hit a ball (that Nelson Cruz misplayed) over Cruz's head for a triple to tie the score. Not again, no sir.

Well, guess what? Berkman singled in the tying run — the fifth time the Cardinals tied the score and the third blown save for the Rangers, who had no shot to get Jon Jay at home after Josh Hamilton fielded the single in shallow right-center. An inning later, Freese hit a winning home run to give St. Louis a 10-9 victory in Game 6 of the World Series and set up the first Game 7 in nine seasons.

Watch Buck and McCarver predict the future: {YSP:MORE}

That's just way too conservative of a defensive alignment. It's as though the Rangers were conceding the tying run. The no-doubles defense made sense in the ninth, up two runs with the tying run on first. But the outfielders needed to be closer in the 10th to give themselves a chance to throw home. No matter, twice the Rangers got within a strike of a championship and twice the Cardinals pushed them back. Will Texas get another chance Friday night?

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