It looked as if the Texas Rangers would be heading back to game deficit, but a late comeback in Game 2 has given them all the momentum. Now the World Series shifts to Rangers Ballpark this evening for Game 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Rangers rallied for two runs in the ninth inning on Thursday and evened this best-of-seven set at a game apiece, as Michael Young's sacrifice fly propelled Texas to a 2-1 win.
But in one fell swoop the series lead the Cards had disappeared, as Jason Motte, who had allowed just one hit in nine scoreless innings this postseason prior to Thursday, could not nail down his sixth save of the playoffs.
"It takes one hit, it takes one bad pitch. ... That's the name of the game," said Motte. "You go out there, and your job is to get people out. Every out's important, every out's big, and you don't want anyone to get on. But it's one of those things."
With St. Louis' outfield playing deep to prevent a double, Ian Kinsler's bloop single off Motte started the rally for Texas and he promptly stole second base, just getting his hand in ahead of the throw by Yadier Molina.
"It took everything I had," Kinsler said. "Yadier made an unbelievable throw -- quick, on the money -- and I was just able to get my hand in there."
The Cardinals first baseman tipped the ball in the infield and it rolled all the way to the third base line, allowing an alert Andrus to reach second base. An error was later charged to Pujols.
"I was just trying to keep it low," Jay said. "I kind of pulled it a little bit, and he wasn't able to cut it. I probably should have made a little better throw there."
Josh Hamilton, who is playing through a left groin strain, then lined Arthur Rhodes' first pitch to right field, tying the game, and Young drove Lance Lynn's 3-2 pitch to center field to score Andrus and make it 2-1.
The Rangers became only the third team in World Series history to rally from a 1-0 deficit to win a game with two runs in the ninth inning or later. They are also the only team in World Series history to win a game by scoring all their runs with sacrifice flies.
"Going back home down, 0-2, we would have been in trouble," winning pitcher Mike Adams said. "But to get even like that, rally in the ninth inning -- especially against their closer ... a really good closer -- to pull off a victory like that was really big."
Matt Harrison takes the hill for the Rangers this evening, as he makes his first appearance since giving up two runs and three hits in five innings of a no-decision against the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the ALCS.
After winning 14 games in the regular season, Harrison is 1-0 in the playoffs with a 4.22 ERA.
"All we have to do is win three, and I think we have the guys to do it," said Harrison, who was 8-5 at home this season with a 3.80 ERA. "It's just a matter of me keeping us in the ballgame and giving us a chance to win."
The Rangers have won both games he has started in the postseason.
"What I would like to see is what he has been doing but maybe an extra inning," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He is giving us five, but I'd like to see him get into the sixth or the seventh. Go as deep as he possibly can. He has been giving us a chance to win the ballgame every time he goes out there."
St. Louis, meanwhile, will counter with righty Kyle Lohse, who after missing part of last season with a rare forearm condition returned this year to post his best year since 2008, going 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA.
However, it's been a different story here in the postseason, as he has lost both of his starts, while allowing eight runs in 9 2/3 innings. He's actually 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA in eight postseason appearances and boasts the second-most career regular-season starts (298) of any active pitcher without a playoff victory.
"I'm just going to try to do the same thing our other guys have done, and just try to keep the ball on the ground," Lohse said. "It's going to be different conditions playing in their place. It's going to be warmer, and the park is more hitter-friendly. But it doesn't really change much."
St. Louis took two of three from the Rangers in Arlington in their only other visit there back in 2004.