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Cardinals' win against Rangers in World Series Game 6 rivals Mets vs Red Sox in 1986


If you are still shaking your head at the turn of events that just transpired from about 11:30pm to roughly 12:40am in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, you are not alone.

There were more twists and turns in this game than Lombard Street. The Texas Rangers held the lead on five different occasions during this game. Some parts were downright sloppy, others just downright surreal. Only twice had a World Series game ended on a 10-9 score prior to this one.

In the end, St. Louis Cardinals  won the game- one of the greatest ever played in a World Series. On the other side of the coin, the Rangers  suffered one of the worst single-game losses in the history of the World Series.The Cardinals celebrate after winning Game 6. Photo: Matt Slocum A/P

In this game there were heroes galore, like Adrian Beltre, who was able to tag out Matt Holliday in the bottom of the sixth inning with his glove and with his footwork and topped it off by delivering another clutch home run for the Rangers in the seventh inning. You had Josh Hamilton, suffering from an injury and apparently having lost his power stroke, promptly launch a two-run blast to once again put the Rangers three defensive outs away from the promised land.

David Freese is now the Ray Knight  of this generation. With the Cardinals down to their last strike in the ninth inning, the third baseman rocked a clutch hit to keep the Cardinals’ series hopes alive.

Like Knight in Game 7 against the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, Freese then hits the game-winning home run for his team. Lost in the mix was the pop up that Freese dropped in the fifth inning, which led to a Rangers run. Kind of redefines the term 'From goat to hero' doesn't it?

And let’s not forget Lance Berkman, who tied the game with two outs and two strikes in the 10th with his base hit.

You could almost compare this contest to a championship fight as much as you could a World Series game, with both opponents trading blows until one opponent reaches back for something extra to narrowly escape with a victory. As far as baseball goes, the only thing I could think of that even came close to this was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, when the Boston Red Sox were thisclose to winning that elusive World Series when everything fell apart without warning.

Like the Rangers tonight, the Red Sox were one strike away from winning the World Series TWICE!  When you combine the sloppiness of the first five innings with the second half of Thursday night’s game, the two games are pretty evenly matched.

Rangers’ All-Star closer Neftali Feliz’s  control in the 2011 World Series finally came back to haunt him in this game. Like Feliz, Sox closer Bob Stanley’s control failed him as well in the tenth inning back in 1986. With the Red Sox ready to celebrate, Stanley uncorked a wild pitch with two strikes on the Mets’ Mookie WIlson, which allowed the tying run to score. You all know what happened next with Bill Buckner....

Just prior to this, the Red Sox’s Calvin Schiraldi (like Feliz) surrendered a two-out, two-strike hit to the opposing team’s third baseman (Knight).

What makes this game even more impressive was that the Rangers came back to take the lead once again after the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. The Cardinals became the first team in World Series history to ever come back from two two-run deficits in the ninth and tenth innings of a game.

Much like Red Sox manager John McNamara in 1986, Rangers’ manager Ron Washington will most likely face some tough questions in regards to certain game decisions. Why didn’t McNamara replace Buckner with the more dependable Dave Stapleton at first base late in Game 6? Why did Washington not pitch to Pujols (who only had his monster Game 3 as proof he even played in this series prior to Game 6) and go with the scorching hot Lance Berkman in the bottom of the tenth?

You can second guess all you want, but the bottom line is there’s a Game 7 Friday night. Winner takes all. After Game 6, the Rangers appeared loose, but will a loss that heartbreaking be too tough to get over?

We’ll find out tonight.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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