Things change quickly, and after getting the Save in game 1, Jason Motte knew he blew it in Game 2 of the World Series, allowing the Texas Rangers two runs in the ninth inning, giving them their first win of the 2011 World Series, making it 1-1.
The St. Louis Cardinals were nearly there, getting that 2-0 lead that hasn’t been overthrown in quite some time in World Series history. Jaime Garcia had a beautiful day on the mound, pitching 7 innings, allowing only three hits, walking only one Rangers and striking out 7. Maybe the best performance we’ve seen from a pitcher in this postseason.
But lets give the Cardinals some good news, some stats to back up their claim for the championship. Teams winning the opener have won seven of the last eight World Series. Teams that have evened up things at 1-1 have won 29 of 54, but only two of the last nine. On the other hand, the Rangers haven’t lost consecutive games since late in August.
Even with their bats swinging all kinds of wrong (5-29 last night), Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton all combined for one vindicating sequence in the ninth – Kinsler hitting a single, than stealing second. Elvis Andrus moving Kinsler to third and advancing to second himself off a bad throw. And then, two Sacrifice Fly swings – Josh Hamliton to score Kinsler, Michael Young to score Andrus.
It wasn’t Motte on the mound when they scored, but the runs go down to his name. I didn’t do my job, was all he could say after the game was over in the silent Cardinals locker room. Later, he had some wisdom to pour on the loss – It stinks. It’s one of those things. I went out there and made a good pitch to Kinsler, and he did a good piece of hitting and got enough on it to get it out of the reach of Furcal. The next one, I threw another cutter, and it just wasn’t a good pitch. It moved, came back, just stayed middle and spun up there.
Albert Pujols’ holed glove helped move Andrus to second and Kinsler to third. Pujols’ bat wasn’t hot as well, going 0-4, and in this form he’s not even getting walked. The Cardinals will probably look back, and search where and when this game could have been won. Eventually, their bats didn’t do a good job. Leaving nine men is scoring positions, going 1-5 in those situations.
In a post season defined by good hitting so far, Albert Pujols’ 0-6 and Matt Holliday’s 1-6 so far in the World Series stand out. For once, despite great starts from both starting pitchers, it was the bullpen that messed up. The World Series plays by its own rules, and ninth innings like the one on Thursday night, when things change in a second, can shift the momentum completely going into Texas this weekend.