The St Louis Cardinals took another step in their magical post-season ride by edging past the Texas Rangers for a 3-2 home win in the opening game of the World Series.
On a cold night at Busch Stadium, with temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit, a pinch-hit single in the sixth inning by Allen Craig allowed David Freese to score from third base. Five relievers then yielded only one hit over the final three innings to preserve the Cardinals' win for the starter, Chris Carpenter.
Craig's slicing line drive only just eluded the sliding Nelson Cruz. "When discount jerseyshe hit the ball I thought I had a good chance to catch it," the right-fielder Cruz said. "I was expecting to go a little farther when I slid but I got stuck in the dirt. Baseball is like that, it's just inches. It can go either way."
Craig's shot down the right-field line was off the Rangers' imposing reliever Alexi Ogando, who had just entered the game in place of the starter, CJ Wilson. The Texas right-hander was 2-0 with a 0.87 earned run average in the post-season.
"Cold weather game, sitting on the bench, World Series, Ogando, it's not amlb jerseys cheap very good situation," the Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, said about the position facing Craig, who is in his second year in Major League Baseball after being drafted by the Cardinals in 2006.
"But he's got a history in our system. That's why we like him so much. He's got a history of taking great at bats, especially runners in scoring position."
Ogando said he placed the pitch to Craig exactly where he and the catcher, Mike Napoli, wanted it. "Both of us agreed on that pitch," the Dominican reliever told reporters through an interpreter. "He [Napoli] asked me for an outside pitch and I agreed and I threw the pitch on the outsidenhl jerseys cheap corner. That's where I wanted to locate the pitch. Give credit to the hitter. It was tough to see that fall as a hit. Nelson Cruz made a good try to try and get it."
The win gave St Louis, a wild-card side, a positive start toward an unlikely 11th World Series crown, given that the Redbirds trailed Atlanta by 10.5 games with a month to go before a late surge put them into the post-season on the last day.
Ron Washington, the Texas manager, refused to be second-guessed in calling nfl jerseys from china for Ogando to replace Wilson. "He was my best pitcher I felt right there in that situation," he said. "He can command all his pitches. In the end you have to give Craig credit. He beat him.
"We certainly didn't lose tonight, we got beat. They had an opportunity to push a run across. The pinch-hitter got it done, and ours didn't. Got to give them credit, they beat us."
St Louis opened the scoring in the fourth when Lance Berkman cheap nfl jerseys lined a two-run single to right field. Texas tied the score an inning later on a two-run homer deep into the right-field stands by Napoli.
After Freese put the Cardinals 3-2 ahead, the reliever Jason Motte sealed the victory with a flawless ninth, the hard-throwing right-hander enticing Cruz to fly to left field for the final out.
"I feel like we have to win the National League-style games if we're going to win this thing, and tonight was a National League-style game, 3-2," Berkman said. "Good pitching, good defence, timely hitting. And I don't think that we want to get into a gorilla-ball type series with these guys."
Game two is in St Louis on Thursday, before the best-of-seven series shifts to suburban Dallas for game three on Saturday.