Rangers Fall Short After Coming Close To Baseball Crown

130724648 Rangers Fall Short After Coming Close To Baseball Crown

Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers reacts after grounding out in the eighth inning during Game Seven of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Oh, so close.

And now it’s 51 years and counting with no World Series titles for the Texas Rangers.

A day after twice coming within one strike of champagne, a glittering trophy and a championship parade in Game 6, the Rangers went as dry as an overcooked T-bone in Friday night’s finale.

Pitchers Matt Harrison and C.J. Wilson fizzled rather than sizzled, and the St. Louis Cardinals won 6-2 in Game 7 to send the Rangers home as World Series losers for the second straight season.

“It was in our grasp and we didn’t get it,” manager Ron Washington said. “Tonight we fought hard for it and the Cardinals got it.”

Last year, this was a new experience for Texas. The first American League pennant was satisfying, even if the five-game loss to the San Francisco Giants was a disappointment to a franchise searching for success as the expansion Washington Senators through 1971 and the Rangers since the move.

This loss left wounds that will never be forgotten for the oldest Major League Baseball team without a Series title. “2011” will be remembered by Rangers fans, much like “1986” weighed on the memory of the Boston Red Sox until they finally ended their long championship drought in 2004.

Only once before in baseball history had a team come within an out of a Series title and not brought home a championship — those ’86 Red Sox, infamous for Bill Buckner’s error.

These Rangers will be remembered for a triple failure, for Neftali Feliz allowing David Freese’s tying triple in the ninth inning of Game 6, for Scott Feldman giving up Lance Berkman’s tying single in the 10th and for Mark Lowe allowing Freese’s game-ending home run in the 11th.

“I don’t care what other people remember. We fell a little bit short,” Josh Hamilton said. “We played hard all year long. We know the things that we got done.”

Even the collapses come bigger in Texas.

“I just told them they’re champions, which I believe,” Washington said. “Someone has to win, someone has to lose and the Cardinals did it. … They were the better team. They are the world champions. All we can do is come back next year and commit ourselves to it, like they did this year.”

In the first Game 7 since 2002, the Rangers spurted to a 2-0 lead against Chris Carpenter, pitching on three days’ rest for the second time in his career. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young hit RBI doubles in the first inning, which could have been bigger had not Ian Kinsler stumbled and been picked off first after his leadoff single.

Instead of bringing back Wilson on short rest or starting Derek Holland, who pitched brilliantly in winning Game 4, Washington stayed in rotation and started Harrison.

He couldn’t hold the lead, allowing three runs, five hits and two walks in four innings. Feldman and Wilson fouled up the fifth, combining for three walks and two hit batters and allowing two runs without any hits.

“They cleanly beat us,” Washington said. “We certainly didn’t give them anything.”

Freese, the Cardinals’ Game 6 star, started the comeback with a tying, two-run double in the first. Allen Craig, starting because Matt Holliday injured his wrist on Thursday, homered for a 3-2 lead in the third, with Nelson Cruz vainly climbing the right-field wall trying to make the catch.

Facing Feldman, Yadier Molina walked with the bases loaded for the second time in two nights, and Wilson forced in another run when he relieved and hit Rafael Furcal on the hip with his first pitch.

That made it 5-2, and the record crowd of 47,399 at Busch Stadium got louder and louder with each Texas out as the Cardinals’ 11th World Series title and first since 2006 neared.

Texas pitchers walked a Series-record 41, one more than the 1997 Florida Marlins. Of the Cardinals’ 34 runs, 11 reached base on walks and another two on hit batters. Not exactly what Nolan Ryan was looking for when he started to remake the team with strong pitching.

Carpenter, the second pitcher in two decades to make three Series starts, allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings with five strikeouts. He finished the Series 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts and the postseason 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in five starts. With nine postseason wins, he surpassed Mariano Rivera for the most among active pitchers.

With Wilson eligible for free agency, the Rangers likely will be seeking a new ace. In the ultimate game, Carpenter pitched like an ace and no one on the Rangers did.

When David Murphy flied to left for the final out, St. Louis became the ninth straight home team to win a Game 7. Many of the Rangers leaned forward in the dugout, stunned.

And why was Texas the road team against the wild-card Cardinals, who were 10 1/2 games out of a playoff spot on Aug. 25?

The All-Star game decides home-field advantage in the World Series, and Wilson was the loser in that one.

“We’ll work hard again,” Washington said. “Hopefully if we can stay healthy, we can get back and have another opportunity.”

In his first outing on short rest, Carpenter gave up four runs over three innings in Game 2 of the NL division series at Philadelphia. He wasn’t sharp at all at the start of this one, either, starting seven of his first 10 batters with balls.

Kinsler singled leading off, then started to steal second on a 1-0 pitch to Elvis Andrus, stumbled and was picked off at first by Molina. Andrus walked, and Hamilton doubled down the right field line for a 1-0 lead.

Young then lofted a soft opposite-field double to right to drive in Hamilton. Carpenter struck out Adrian Beltre and retired Cruz on a groundout to limit the damage.

Harrison then got into trouble with his control with two outs in the bottom half, and the Rangers had Wilson starting to warm up after five batters and 23 pitches.

Albert Pujols walked for the sixth time in the Series, on four pitches, and Berkman walked on five. Freese worked the count full and lined the ball on two hops to the wall in left-center, with Pujols raising both arms in triumph as he crossed the plate. Molina then flied out to Hamilton in front of the fence in center.

Mike Napoli singled leading off the second, and Murphy hit into a forceout. Harrison sacrificed Murphy to third, Kinsler walked and Murphy took third when Pujols dropped a pickoff throw at first from Molina. Carpenter induced Andrus to hit into an inning-ending comebacker.

Furcal singled leading off the bottom half, but Skip Schumaker grounded into a double play on the next pitch. Carpenter hit Beltre on the forearm with a pitch with two outs in the third before retiring Cruz on a flyout.

Kinsler singled leading off the fifth to reach base for the third time, and Andrus sacrificed. Hamilton then hit a foul pop in front of the third-base dugout. Freese, who dropped a popup for an error on Thursday, leaned over and caught it while slipping. Carpenter then struck out Young, pumping both arms in emotion.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn’t decide on Carpenter instead of a rested Kyle Lohse until Friday morning, waiting until after pitching coach Dave Duncan spoke with his ace.

NOTES: A record 38 of a possible 43 postseason games were played this year. A record 13 were decided by one run, one more than 1995, 1997 and 2003.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • Pedro Vasquez

    Rangers gave it away in game 6. The Cards deserved it.

  • Greg Hackworth

    we still have the MAVd

  • J B

    As Derek Holland sits idle watching C.J Walkem hit the batter with his very first pitch to walk in a run.
    Way to go “WASH…out”!

  • J

    Cards deserved nothing. Rangers just gave it away, over and over. And no one pitched like an ace? Really, 8.5 innings of Derek Holland wasn’t enough? He can’t help it that Warsh didn’t elect not to use him in relief in Game 6 vs. start Game 7. I’m sick and tired of hearing Warsh talk about the Cards just beat us. No, you beat yourselves. Made all the wrong moves. Bullpen all the wrong pitches. Bats went silent. Rangers broke down mentally in the most collossal way that I’ve ever seen. At least the Heat came out and outplayed the Mavs in 2006. Heck the Cards even tried to give it to us, but none of that, you take it.

    • mel

      “J” I agree. We need a new coach for sure along with some pitchers.

  • GoRangers2011

    I know this is going to sound petty and biased, but this entire series was gift wrapped by the home plate umpires. The Cardinals batters dictated the strike zone to the umps by constantly complaining about every pitch that didn’t go their way. For example, Lance Berkman, who I have plenty of respect for, turned and barked about a called strike 3 that was not even touching the black anywhere in the zone. It would have been strike 3 in Japan, Puerto Rice, Little League, or any other league, but Berkman complained about it because the Cards were used to the umps making Rangers pitchers serve up the fattest beach balls they’ve thrown all year long in order to get a call. And I saw Carpenter get outpitched by a wide margin twice in this series. It’s amazing that he ever threw a strike, because he didn’t have to. Aside from maybe two good curveballs, he had to skip the ball to the plate, almost hit a batter, or damn near airmail one to the backstop for it to be called a ball in Saint Loius. The only game where the umpiring was consistent for both sides was Holland’s start. And on top of that, there were the two obvious blown calls that cost the Rangers any chance at winning game one, and put them in an insurmountable hole in game 3. The officiating in this series has practically destroyed my trust in the integrity of this game. I don’t know if the umps were just scared of the fans in StL, or if there was some kind of financial motivation for them to hand this series to the Cards on a silver platter, but the Rangers outplayed the cards and shouldn’t have even been in game 7. Just witness Mark Lowe’s first pitch for a ball in the 11th inning of game 6. Carpenter got that call a dozen times in game 7…and here comes the beach ball…sorry, had to get that out of my system.
    GO RANGERS 2012!!!!

    • mel

      I agree totally!!!!!! They wanted St Louis to win this from the start and they helped them every step of the way. I’m done with baseball.

    • darrell

      the ump who blew the call at first in game 3 is from st louis.

      • john

        Really, you’re going there?? This was the same ump who called Kinsler safe in the 9th of game 2. And he was behind the plate for game 4 during Holland’s start. Holland got all the close pitches in that one. The Rangers couldn’t seal the deal….get over it.

  • RR Worker

    Maybe the Rangers should switch to hand grenades or horseshoes if people want to count how close they came. Those are two of only a few options when only getting close counts.

  • David

    20 games divisional series, 14 games league championship series, 7 games world series = 41 total possible.

  • Jason Kerrigan

    While innocent people are getting bombed overseas, and children are getting killed without justice… while our economy is collapsing… while ungodliness reigns in our country… Grown men are concerned about which group can hit the ball with the stick and run around faster before the ball gets back. (Luke 21:34-36)

  • Al

    RANGERS: poor pitching, again. Get rid of Felize, Feldman, CJ, etc.
    Keep Derek and Colby. Revamp your pitching. Add real starters. Ogando can’t last through the playoffs. Can we afford Puhols?

  • AL

    You quote scripture to release frustration. The rest of us play/watch baseball. We all see what’s going on in the world. Sometimes we just need to think about something else for a few hours of the day. Since you’re obviously not a baseball fan, why are you even posting on here? Surely you have better/other things to do?

  • darrell

    while i congratulate the Rangers on what they did accomplish two years in a row they failed. StL did no win this series, the Rangers blew it. after game 6 i didnt even bother with game 7. i knew it was a lost cause. for whatever reason they didnt want it bad enough. granted that the umps were pro-StL the entire series they had it in their grasp twice and just gave it away. no sympathy here. you have been found wanting.

    • Mel

      I didn’t watch game 7 either. I knew it was over already. Everyone that watched said they pretty much quit after the score went 3 to 2.

  • tipastar

    Thanks Rangers for an amazing World Series. We are basking in the glory not simply because we won the WS…but more because we fought back to even get the wild card and this will truly be one for the Cardinal history books. Always down and back but fighting till the end. Call whatever pitches and mistakes on both sides you feel but at the end of the day, it does take only 1 run to win. Amazing!!!! So from this STL fan to only those Ranger fans that visited us here in STL and partied with us at Paddy O’s, you guys were a class act! To those fans that simply can’t see this as an amazing sport, and only want to see where the faults were, on either team, good luck next year. Hopefully you see nothing but perfection so you don’t stress.

    • darrell

      i didnt realize they kept stats on world series victories won through “Gifting”.

  • You'vegotbekidding

    Congratulations to rhe UMPIRES for winning the WS…..

  • Stopurcryin

    I think it is so funny that so called Rangers fans have gone from being mad at the umps, their own players, the manager, and now saying the game was gifted to the Cards. Maybe Arlington can call Wisconsin to get some cheese to go with all the whining. You call Yankees fans band wagon fans, but you so called rangers fans have bashed your own team, instead of celebrating making it to the World Series twice.

  • terry

    need some help, in the 7th, Berkman on 1st, throw home, batter didt swing, Napoli threw to Kinsler, tagged Berkman, but Berkman was called safe

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