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Trying to put Game 6 into words, or David Freese goes yard.

October 28, 2011

One of the main things I love about baseball – one of the things that makes baseball my favorite sport – is the fact that every team gets an equal amount of opportunities to win. If you’re down 31-16 in a football game with two minutes left, you’re pretty much screwed. Down 100-91 in a basketball game with a minute left? You’re out of luck usually. But down 7-4 in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the World Series? Nope. Down 7-5 with two outs, two strikes in the bottom of the ninth? Nope, not out of it. Down 9-7 in the bottom of the 10th, with two outs, two strikes? Not. At. All.

That’s what I love about baseball. The game can be all but over, but even the craziest and most unusual things can happen. In the bottom of the 10th – after tying the game in the bottom of the ninth and then giving up a two-run home run to Josh Hamilton in the top of the 10th – the Cardinals were all but left for dead. Daniel Descalso, who hit .190 against lefties this year, would face lefty Darren Oliver to lead off the 10th. He promptly singled. Jon Jay, who hadn’t reached base in the World Series until tonight’s eighth inning, singled against Oliver next. Jay’s average against lefties this year? .287, or worse than what he hit against righties.

Now out of position players, Tony LaRussa was forced to use Kyle Lohse to try and keep the game alive. Lohse almost bunted into a game-ending triple play (How fitting would that have been, to have the Cardinals’ season end on a triple play?), but fortunately Adrian Beltre over-ran the ball and Lohse successfully moved the runners over into scoring position. The rest, as they say, is history. A Ryan Theriot RBI groundout; an Albert Pujols intentional walk, which was at-best a debatable move by Ron Washington; and a game-tying single by Lance Berkman kept the Cardinals’ season alive, for at least nine more innings.

There were so many ups and downs in this game, I still feel like I was on a roller coaster for the past five hours. My stomach is still turning over, I’m hungry and I’m tired. Dropped pop ups, bad base-running, an error on a sacrifice bunt – this game was brutal for the first several innings. But then it turned into a masterpiece.

The Cardinals scored six runs in the last four innings of Game 6, or as many as they had scored in every other game of the series save Game 3.. If Matt Holliday didn’t get picked off third base in the bottom of the sixth inning and injure his hand, which took him out of the game, the Cardinals probably don’t win becaues Allen Craig wouldn’t have been in the game to hit for Holliday when he hit his home run in the bottom of the eighth to bring the Cardinals within two runs.

The magic of baseball is that it’s not over until it’s all the way over. No deficit is too much to overcome. The Cardinals were down to their last strike and down two runs on two separate occasions, but the hometown, postseason hero David Freese kept his great postseason going. Freese now has 19 RBIs and 13 extra-base hits in 17 postseason games, including seven doubles, tonight’s game-tying and season-saving two-RBI triple, and tonight’s game-winning and season-saving solo 11th-inning home run.

In October heroes are made and legacies established. David Freese is a good major leaguer, but so far in this postseason, this October, he is a hero to his hometown of St. Louis and to the many St. Louis Cardinals fans who came along for this great ride, starting 27 days ago. I would’ve never guessed David Freese would be the newest addition to the St. Louis Cardinals’ list of postseason heroes – Gibson, McGee, Smith, Molina, Wainwright – but now he is, and I’m glad I was wrong. He prolonged his heroic October, the Cardinals’ season and the fans’ excitement for at least one more night, for at least nine more innings. That’s all we could’ve asked for tonight, to give us one more game, a winner-take-all Game 7, that for all of us will hopefully be as good as tonight’s, or heck, even half as good.

Right before Freese’s game-winning home run I asked my friend Trevor, “Freese go boomskie?”

Freese go boomskie.


From → MLB

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