October 28, 2011
If Mother Nature thought we needed two days to recover from the wackiness of Game 5, how many days does she think we'll need to recover from the roller coaster ride that was Game 6?
Let's hope she doesn't answer that.
The St. Louis Cardinals season-saving 10-9 victory over the Texas Rangers in 11 innings wasn't always pretty, but it didn't need to be. It was fun and had all kinds of personality. Errors, mismanagement, back-breaking plays, game-changing plays and some really clutch hits.
[Related: Cardinals' Game 6 win could be best ever]
That's all you can really ask for in a World Series baseball game, and to focus on one play wouldn't do Game 6 justice. With that in mind, I've expanded the playbook so to speak — just as 'Duk did with the Tigers-Twins tiebreaker game back in 2009 — by ranking the top 10 plays. You can check out each play by clicking the link and feel free to disagree with or rearrange the rankings in the comments section below.
10. Cardinals turn two in second: After the first two batters had reached, pitcher Colby Lewis(notes) was asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The bunt went directly to a hard-charging David Freese(notes) on three easy bounces. Freese turned without hesitation and fired a strike to Rafael Furcal(notes) covering third. Furcal quickly unloaded across the diamond to nip Lewis, completing a 5-6-3 double play, stifling what could have been a big inning for Texas. (Watch it here)
9. Adrian Beltre's(notes) seventh inning home run puts Texas on top: After squashing a Cardinals rally in the sixth, the momemtum seemed to turn completely in the Rangers favor after Beltre led off the seventh with a home run. When Nelson Cruz(notes) immediately followed with his own homer, a lot of us were ready to crown a 2011 World Series champion. (Watch it here)
8. Young's misplay leads to tying run in sixth: Rather than take a sure out on a grounder from Matt Holliday(notes), Rangers first baseman Michael Young(notes) hurried an attempt to turn two. He ended up bobbling the exchange, and by the time he finally collected himself, he was unable to even get the easy out at first. St. Louis would capitalize by scoring the tying run, but this wouldn't end up being the biggest play of the inning. (Watch it here)
[Y! Sports Shop: Buy Rangers and Cardinals playoffs gear]
7. Freese error helps Rangers regain lead in fifth: Josh Hamilton(notes) led off with a routine pop fly that Cardinals third baseman David Freese camped out under. Only in this crazy game, nothing was routine. The ball would bounce in and out of Freese's glove, allowing Hamilton to reach. One batter later, Michael Young would hit a double and drive Hamilton home with the go-ahead run.
6. Matt Holliday picked off third base in sixth: Getting picked off third base under any circumstance is inexcusable. Getting picked off third base with the bases loaded in Game 6 of the World Series — a game your team must win — simply leaves you speechless. Yet that's what happened to Matt Holliday thanks to a fantastic throw by Mike Napoli(notes) and Adrian Beltre's expert job blocking the base. (Watch it here)
5. Allen Craig's(notes) eighth-inning solo homer: The impact of Holliday getting picked off didn't end there, because the Cards' left fielder would also get injured on the play, bruising the pinky on his right hand. This allowed Allen Craig to enter the game in his place the next half inning. But what started as the ultimate facepalm moment for Cardinals fans actually turned into a positive as Craig cut the deficit to 7-5 with a solo home run and provided a shot in the arm heading into the ninth. (Watch it here)
4. Lance Berkman's(notes) game-tying single in the 10th: One out away from a championship, Ron Washington found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Pitch to Albert Pujols(notes) representing the game-winning run, or put the winning run on base? Washington elected to put Pujols on. That left it up to Lance Berkman, who would deliver the game-tying run from third with a two-strike single into right-center. (Watch it here)
3. Josh Hamilton's two-run home run in the 10th: The Rangers needed a quick pick-me-up after the game slipped through their fingers in the ninth. Hamilton provided it, driving a Jason Motte(notes) 98-mph fastball into the right-field bleachers. That gave Texas a 9-7 lead, and set up a fairy tale ending for Rangers fans. It just wasn't meant to be on this night. (Watch it here)
2. Freese's two-run triple ties game in the ninth: The fairy tale instead belonged to St. Louis native and life long Cardinals fan David Freese. With their season on his shoulders, Freese hit a two-strike, two-out frozen rope off the erractic Neftali Feliz(notes) that Nelson Cruz couldn't flag down in right field. This allowed Pujols and Berkman to race around with tying runs and Freese to reach third a hero. (Watch it here)
[World Series slideshow: Check out photos from thrilling Game 6]
1. Freese's game-winning home run: Two innings later, Freese went from hero to legend. On the sixth pitch of his at-bat, Freese hit a game-winning home run to straightaway center field off Mark Lowe(notes), sending us to our first World Series Game 7 since 2002. By the time Freese rounded the bases and touched home, that pop fly he'd dropped six innings earlier was long forgotten. (Watch it here)
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