david-freese-game-6

World Series 2011 Game Six: Cards Freese Rangers In Thriller

Third baseman David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals may not have the credentials of his teammate, Albert Pujols, or the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, but he is rapidly approaching cult status among the Busch Stadium faithful! Freese, the “Big Chill,” blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the World Series 2011 to a 7th game. Freese now joins the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski (game 7, 1960), the Boston Red Sox’ Carlton Fisk (game 6, 1975), the Minnesota Twins’ Kirby Puckett (game 6, 1991) and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Joe Carter (game 6, 1993) as the only players to ever hit walk-off HRs in game 6 or later of a World Series.

Game-winning hits are nothing new for Freese. Making his MLB debut on Opening Day of the 2009 season, Freese came off the bench to hit a go-ahead sac fly in the Cardinals' home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Game-winning hits are nothing new for Freese. Making his MLB debut on Opening Day of the 2009 season, Freese came off the bench to hit a go-ahead sac fly in the Cardinals' home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The MLB championships have rarely seen such excitement: 2 come-from-behind rallies by the Cards in the 9th and 10th innings to tie what looked to be a sure win for the Texas Rangers baseball club. Those rallies to tie, in consecutive innings, in a last at bat, are a first in World Series play, both executed with 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter!

The Rangers came THAT close to winning their first World Series.

World Series 1975 – Reds beat Red Sox: There were 5 games decided by one run and two extra-inning games. Carlton Fisk waved his walk-off home run fair to win Game 6 (after three consecutive rainouts). The Reds went on to win Game 7.

Colby Lewis pitched well for the Rangers, better than lefty Jaime Garcia did for the Cardinals. Neither team played well defensively, committing both performing and mental errors. It all came down to clutch-hitting, and both teams did well, with the Cardinals coming out with the win.

In the 7th inning, the Rangers brought out the big bats, with 3B Adrian Beltre and RF Nelson Cruz slamming back-to-back homers for a 2-run lead. Ian Kinsler added an RBI hit, perhaps a gift of the Cardinals’ defensive shift on him, to put the Rangers up, 7-4. A note: Cruz’  8th postseason home run tied the All-Time record co-held by the 2002 San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds (tainted) and the 2004 Houston Astros’ Carlos Beltran. This followed the earlier exploits of the Cards’ RF Lance Berkman and 1B Albert Pujols who both had homered.

An astute Ranger fan, @BTreotch, comments on Ian Kinsler’s 7th inning RBI: “That basehit courtesy of the shift.”

In the bottom of the 8th, Allen Craig jacked one into the left field stands to bring the Redbirds within 2 at 7-5. In the bottom of the 9th, Freese, with 2 outs and 2 strikes hit a triple over Cruz’ head off the Rangers’ star closer, Neftali Feliz, to plate 2 runs and tie the score.

Here comes the Rangers 2010 MVP Josh Hamilton in the top of the 10th, who with one man on, clotheslines a sudden home run to right field to again put Texas in front, 9-7. Then Berkman, in the bottom of the 10th, again with 2 outs and 2 strikes, delivers a 2-RBI hit to once again tie the game at 9-all.

Kirby Puckett went deep off of Atlanta's Charlie Liebrandt in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. The solo shot was immortalized by Jack Buck's call of "We'll see you tomorrow night!"

Kirby Puckett went deep off of Atlanta's Charlie Liebrandt in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. The solo shot was immortalized by Jack Buck's call of "We'll see you tomorrow night!"

And, David Freese, in the bottom of the 11th, does his walk-off act.

This made the first time in World Series history that a team had scored in the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th innings in a single game. It also means that for only the 5th time in the last 23 World Series, there will be a game 7.

On Friday, October 28th, the Rangers will send lefty Matt Harrison to the hill to probably take on the Cardinals’ ace, Chris Carpenter. Carpenter is widely expected to be Manager Tony LaRussa’s pick, even though he will only have 3 days’ rest under his belt. The momentum is definitely with St. Louis, and they are the home team. World Series’ home teams have won the last 8 game 7s!

It will be “all hands on deck” for both teams, and as with 5 of the previous 6 games, game 7 promises to be a classic!

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