Mike Napoli hit a double to deep right, bringing home Michael Young and Nelson Cruz, giving the Texas Rangers a 4-2 lead, their first of the game, to grab a 3-2 lead in the World Series as they head back to St. Louis with a chance to finish off the Cardinals and win the Franchise’s first title.
You can blame it on the loud Rangers fans, or problems with the phone. Tony La Russa couldn’t get his message through to Derek Lilliquist, the Bullpen coach, which led to some weird choices. Marc Rzepczynski going on (the double was hit off him) when La Russa only asked for Motte and Rzepczynski to get ready.
Later on, when he asked for Motte again, it was reliever Lance Lynn who entered, walking a player before coming off for Motte. La Russa, obviously frustrated, tried to play down the whole confusion part – I was more frustrated the double-play ball went off the glove and the fact we had numerous chances to add runs. That’s probably more frustrating. The other part just happens. I mean, it’s loud down there, and sometimes you call down there and you have to wait until the crowd and a guy gets up late. I mean, this is not unusual.
As La Russa said, the missed opportunities were killers. The Cardinals went 1-12 with runners in scoring positions, Nick Punto especially going 0-3 in those situations. Albert Pujols? Forget about the three home run game. The guy hasn’t showed up four out of five times. He’s 5-18 in the series, 0-12 taking out Game 3.
Mike Napoli, the Rangers’ hero of the night, did more than just hit his only successful At bat for the win. The Cardinals’ base running failed them twice, including the game ending out as Albert Pujols struck out. His first stolen base catch came earlier, with Pujols also on the mound.
And everything comes back to Rzepczynski. In the eighth he had a great chance for a double play after David Murphy hit a soft bouncer towards the mound. “Scrabble” couldn’t come through with the catch, only grazing the ball with his glove. The bases were loaded, and on came Napoli. The way he’s hitting and playing in the World Series, just one more win will clinch him the WS MVP. With 9 RBIs and a hit in four of the five games, there’s no one who deserves it more.