By Ron Griffitts
In October 2011, the Texas Rangers (96-66) managed by Ron Washington and with general manager Jon Daniels faced the St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) managed by Tony La Russo and their general manager John Mozeliak.
For the Rangers, it was their second straight American League pennant and they dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays (3-2) and Detroit Tigers (4-2) to advance to the World Series.
They were led by Ian Kinsler (32 HR, 77 RBI, 121 RS, and 30 SB), Elvis Andrus (37 SB, 96 RS), Adrian Beltre (32 HR, 105 RBI, and .296 BA), Josh Hamilton (25 HR, 94 RBI, and .298 BA) and Nelson Cruz (29 HR, 87 RBI).
Their pitching staff featured five starters with C. J. Wilson 16-7, Colby Lewis 14-10, Derek Holland 16-5, Matt Harrison 14-9 and Alexi Ogando 13-8 and Naftali Felix in the bullpen with 32 saves and a 2.74 ERA.
The Cardinals were led by Yadier Molina (.305 BA), Albert Pujols (37 HR, 99 RBI, .299 BA, 105 RS), Matt Holiday (22HR, 75 RBI, .296 BA) and Lance Berkman (31 HR, 94 RBI, 301 BA, 90 RS).
Their pitching staff was anchored by Chris Carpenter 11-9, Jame Garcia 13-7, Kyle Lohse 14-8 and Jake Westbrook 12-9 with Fernando Salas in the bullpen with 24 saves and a 2.28 ERA.
Game one was in Busch Stadium in St. Louis with Carpenter and Wilson as the starting pitchers in a game which was scoreless until the Cardinals scored two runs in the fourth inning. In the top of the fifth, the Rangers tied it up with a two run home run by Mike Napoli.
In the bottom of the fifth the Cards scored what proved to be the winning run on a single by Allen Craig after a David Freese double and the Cardinals took game one.
In game two the Rangers got their first World Series victory in the history of the franchise in another closely pitched game. The Cardianls held a 1-0 lead going into the ninth inning but in the top of the inning, Texas scored two runs on sacrifice flys by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and Ranger closer Naftali Felix held the Cards scoreless in the bottom of the inning for the Rangers win and the series was tied 1-1.
As the teams move to Rangers Stadium in Arlington, Texas game three was in contast to the previous two as the two teams combined for 23 runs with the help of six home runs including three by Albert Pujols who joined Babe Ruth, Pablo Sandoval and Reggie Jackson as players who have gotten three home runs in a World Series game.
The Cards came out on top 16-7 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
In game four Texas got an eight and one third inning performance from Derek Holland in which he allowed no runs and only two hits and with Feliz again on for the save the Rangers tie the series at two games each with a 4-0 win. Mike Napoli’s three run home run in the sixth provided most of the runs for the Rangers.
In game five, still in Texas, the Rangers had another strong pitching performance using five pitchers to hold the Cardinals to two runs and seven hits for a 4-2 Ranger win to take a three games to two lead in the series.
Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre had home runs for the winning team.
Game six proved to be one of the most historic World Series games of all time.
The Rangers built up a lead and led 7-5 going into the bottom of the ninth inning which proved to be one of the most exciting in baseball history. Naftali Felix got the first out then Albert Pujols doubled and Lance Berkman walked before striking out the next hitter with David Freese coming to the plate. Down to his last strike Freese lofted a fly ball to right field which Nelson Cruz could not make a play on and turned into a triple scoring Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to tie the game 7-7 and go into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth Josh Hamilton homered with one on to again give the Rangers a two run lead with the bullpen needing three outs for a World Series title. But again the Cards put together enough offense to score two runs and tie the game 9-9.
The Rangers did not score in the top of the eleventh. David Freese however homered off of Texas reliever Mark Lowe for a dramatic 10-9 win to tie the series up at three games each.
In game seven the Rangers scored two first-inning runs but that was all they could get as, behind Chris Carpenter and four relievers, the Cardinals went on to win the game 6-2 and the World Series with David Freese getting the series MVP.
The Texas Rangers have not been back to the World Series while the St. Louis Cardianls returned in 2013.
Statistics for this article were from baseball-reference.com, baseball-almanac.com and YouTube.com
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.