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THE WORLD SERIES SEEING WAS BELIEVING
BEN REITER
November 10, 2011
IMPLAUSIBLE... INCREDIBLE... INVINCIBLE! IN A TRUE FALL CLASSIC, THE CARDINALS CAME BACK FROM THE BRINK TO OUTLAST TEXAS
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November 10, 2011

The World Series Seeing Was Believing

IMPLAUSIBLE... INCREDIBLE... INVINCIBLE! IN A TRUE FALL CLASSIC, THE CARDINALS CAME BACK FROM THE BRINK TO OUTLAST TEXAS

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GAME 3 at Arlington

CARDINALS 16, RANGERS 7

DESPITE ALL HIS CAREER AND POSTSEASON SUCCESS, ALBERT Pujols's career World Series résumé before 2011's Game 3 was thin. In 11 games he had batted .222, with one home run and two RBIs. And he had been roundly pilloried for bolting from the Cardinals' clubhouse without addressing the media after Game 2, in which he went 0 for 4 and committed that error that enabled the Rangers to come back.

All of that seemed a distant memory after a historic night in which Pujols went 5 for 6, becoming just the second player, after the Brewers' Paul Molitor in 1982, to have five hits in a World Series game. He tied a Series record with six RBIs. He set a Series record with 14 total bases. And he joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to swat three homers in a Series game. "That's good company right there," said La Russa.

Pujols was also in good company in his own batting order, as he stressed after the game. "There's so many guys in the lineup that had a huge night, starting with Allen—right away in the first inning, he kind of took the crowd out of the game," he said, referring to Craig, the rightfielder who started the Cardinals' scoring with a first-inning home run. "It was just a great team win."

Every batter in St. Louis's starting lineup except centerfielder Jay had one hit or more, with four RBIs coming off the bat of Molina. The Rangers did their best to try to match the Cardinals—the clubs combined to score nearly three times as many runs as they had in the Series' first two games and pounded out more hits, 28, than they had in total in Games 1 and 2. But the Rangers' output was not nearly enough. "They swung the lumber, and there wasn't much we could do about it," lamented Texas manager Washington. "We just couldn't stop them."

Pujols and the Cardinals had help from an unlikely source in first base umpire Ron Kulpa, who botched a call in the top of the fourth inning of what to that point was a tense game that the Cardinals led 1--0. With nobody out, Matt Holliday hit what seemed a sure double-play ball, and though Rangers second baseman Kinsler's throw to first was high, Napoli caught it and clearly applied a swipe tag to Holliday's left shoulder when he was a full step short of the bag. Kulpa, though, called Holliday safe, and the Cardinals went on to score four runs in the inning.

"The game could have turned out different," said Texas starter Matt Harrison afterward. But it didn't, and the Rangers were left trying to figure out how, starting in Game 4, they could stop a Cardinals offense that seemed unstoppable.

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