St. Louis defeats Texas in seven to earn 11th championship
One of the most thrilling Fall Classics in modern baseball came to an end Friday with the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Texas Rangers in Game 7 of the 107th World Series.
The Cardinals earned their 11th championship in franchise history and capped a season full of surprise comebacks with a 6-2 victory over the Rangers in front of a packed house at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium to win the Series, four games to three.
Led by pitcher Chris Carpenter, who on three- day rest threw for six innings and gave up just six hits and two runs, the Cardinals won the deciding game just a night after twice fighting back from being a strike away from elimination in a nail-biting Game 6 that went 11 innings.
Down 5-3 to the Rangers with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6, Cardinals’ third baseman David Freese turned a two-out, two-strike fastball into a two-run triple to tie the game and force extra innings. After each team put up two more runs in the 10th—including a two-out, game-tying RBI from St. Louis outfielder Lance Berkman—Freese came to bat in the bottom of the 11th and hit a solo shot over the wall in center for the walk-off run.
“It was overwhelming,” said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa in a team news release. “We were on the edge game after game after game.”
La Russa, who announced his retirement yesterday, has now brought two World Series titles to St. Louis and become just the ninth manager in MLB history to lead three championship teams.
Freese, a St. Louis native, hit .397 in the postseason and .297 overall on the season. He was named the World Series MVP. Carpenter went 2–0 in the Series and 4–0 overall in the postseason with a 3.25 ERA.
The great Cardinal comeback, however, was not just confined to the World Series. In late August, St. Louis was more than 10 games out of the playoffs and didn’t even appear to be postseason contenders. But the Cardinals flew against the late-season headwind, secured the National League Wild Card and defeated postseason-favorite Philadelphia in the Division Series (3–2) and Milwaukee in the NLCS (4–2).
Texas earned entry in its second-straight World Series by defeating Tampa Bay in the AL Division Series (3–1) and Detroit in the ALCS (4–2). In their only two appearances in franchise history, the Rangers have yet to win a World Series title.
The 2011 Cardinals are the fifth Wild Card team to win the Series, and the first to do so since the 2004 Red Sox.