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Both teams' usually prodigious offenses were largely silenced. The Cardinals scored their first two runs on a fourth-inning Lance Berkman single, and the Rangers scored their only two on an opposite-field homer by Mike Napoli in the fifth. The difference came down to decisions by the managers—or, more accurately, to how the players on whom the managers called performed. "In the end you have to give Craig credit," said Washington. "Their pinch hitter got it done, and ours didn't."
The pinch hitter who got it done, a 27-year-old who hasn't yet played a full season's worth of games, maintained perspective. "It's the first game, and we've still got three more to win," said Craig. "But it's a good start."
GAME 2 at St. Louis
RANGERS 2, CARDINALS 1
AT THE LAST MOMENT, WHEN THEY WERE THREE OUTS FROM falling behind two games to none for the second straight World Series, the Rangers started to play their brand of baseball. That rediscovery of their identity allowed them to turn a 1--0 deficit into a victory.
Before Game 1, Washington promised that his club would not shy away from its aggressive, basepath-churning style, even against the Cardinals' rifle-armed catcher, Yadier Molina. But Molina gunned down leadoff man Ian Kinsler at second base in the first inning of Game 1, and in the 16 innings that followed the Rangers, fifth in the majors with 143 steals, seemed chastened to the point that they didn't try again. In Game 2 they faced a Cardinals starter, lefthander Jaime Garcia, against whom base stealers were successful on 15 of 18 regular-season attempts—despite Molina's being behind the plate for 85% of Garcia's innings. The numbers, in other words, said the Rangers could run.
Yet they did not. In the fourth inning of a scoreless game, Kinsler, a 30-steal man, drew a walk but stood anchored to first as Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton flied out. Had Kinsler stolen second, he might have scored on Michael Young's two-out single. As it was he made it only to third, and Garcia's strikeout of Adrian Beltre stranded him there.
In the ninth, though, with Cards closer Jason Motte protecting a 1--0 lead, Kinsler reached on a leadoff blooper. This time he took off. Molina rose and fired one of the finest throws in a career of fine throws—a clothesline from his right hand to the far right corner of second base—but Kinsler touched the bag a hair before the ball's arrival. Andrus lined a single, sending Kinsler to third; on the play Andrus snuck into second when Albert Pujols mishandled Jon Jay's throw from centerfield. That set up sac flies by Hamilton and Young, and then three outs by closer Neftali Feliz. The Rangers had run a loss into a win.
Before that Game 2 had seemed to be following a script similar to that of Game 1. After another pair of strong outings by the starters, the Cardinals took a one-run lead the way they had the night before. It was the seventh inning this time, not the sixth, but again La Russa sent in Craig to pinch-hit, again the Cards had men on first and third with two outs and the game tied, and again Washington countered with Ogando. Again Ogando threw a high-90s fastball down in the zone, and again Craig lashed it the other way for a single and the go-ahead run. This time the Rangers' legs ensured it would not prove to be the winning tally. "It was almost a great story for us," La Russa would say. "Turned out to be a greater one for them."