ST. LOUIS -- Brrrr. Greetings from Section 313 here at Busch Stadium for tonight's World Series opener between the Cards and Rangers. I like the setup here. They have us in a bunch of suites down the right-field line (I'm in the Stan Musial Room. ... cool). You can go inside to watch the game on TV, where the Internet isn't really working, or sit outside where there's ethernet cables and they work perfectly (memo to the Sabres and all teams -- hard-wire your press areas, please).
I'll be providing plenty of thoughts as the night goes on but please understand we're also working on the print product on some tight deadlines. It's an intriguing matchup but you wonder how both teams are going to deal with this weather. It's freezing and the wind is blowing hard. Looks like it's swirling all over the place and not really heading in one direction.
We're going to have the anthems shortly (check the pic). Here's tonight's lineups:
Rangers: Kinsler, 2b: Andrus, ss; Hamilton, cf; Young, 1b; Beltre, 3b; Cruz, rf; Napoli, c; Murphy, lf; Wilson, p
Cardinals: Furcal, ss; Jay, cf; Pujols, 1b; Holliday, lf; Berkman, rf; Freese, 3b; Molina, c; Punto, 2b; Carpenter, p.
Keep it here for updates from the opener. The coldest Game One was 41 degrees in Baltimore in 1979. We're going to be close. Yeesh.
Top-1st: The first pitch from Carpenter to Kinsler, a ball, came at 7:06 CT and the temperature is a frosty 48 degrees. The Rangers are retired thanks to some great defense, something that was not a Cardinal hallmark for much of the season. Kinsler opened with a single that hopped past Freese at third (should have been scored an error), but Molina threw him out trying to steal. Andrus was then retired on a great play by Carpenter, who bellyflopped to catch Pujols' throw while covering the bag and had the presence of mind to pull in his pitching hand to his body so Andrus wouldn't step on it on the way by. Hamilton then grounded to short.
Mid-2nd: We stay scoreless as Carpenter makes another great pitch in the clutch, a 93-mph sinker to Napoli that turns into a routine 6-4-3 double play that kills a first-and-second rally. Beltre got it started with a double past Freese at third, who looks like he's stuck in the mud. A guy with name should be able to play fine in the cold, right?
Bottom-2nd: Earlier today, it seemed MLB had nixed the idea of Dirk Nowitzki throwing a first pitch in Texas due to the NBA lockout. Come on, that's silly. He's the FIRST guy I would think should be doing that in Dallas this year. Well, it seems Bud Selig stepped in and Dirk will be throwing this weekend according to this ESPNDallas.com story. Good call, Commish. The game remains scoreless.
End-3rd: I accept the best wishes from a good friend of the blog, longtime Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston. Our man Livy penned this piece that gives you a good idea of what it's like for columnists at the World Series. I saw Sully have a few of these meltdowns in his day (think Game One in 2000, when the Mets blew a ninth-inning lead at Yankee Stadium and lost in the 12th. Sully was apoplectic). We're scoreless through three, the Rangers have two hits and Punto's third-inning single was the Cardinals' first. Carpenter has thrown 42 pitches Wilson has thrown 40. Both have thrown 23 strikes.
End-4th: The Cardinals make the first breakthrough and it makes sense since Wilson has been living on the edge far more than Carpenter, who has retired seven straight. Wilson hit Pujols with a bouncing slider in the dirt and Holliday drove a double to the corner in right that sent the obviously hobbled Pujols into third (barely). Berkman then drove a fastball to right (right) for a two-run single to give St. Louis the lead. What a season Berkman has had as the NL Comeback Player of the Year. He looked done last year with the Yankees. Now he has a $12 million deal for 2012. Cards lead, 2-0.
Mid-5th: The Rangers come right back as Beltre leads off with a single and, one out later, Napoli pummels an outside sinker that tailed back over the plate deep into the seats in right. A no-doubter. Looked like about a dozen rows up. Big momentum boost for the Rangers to answer the Cardinals' run and big downer for Carpenter to give his lead right back. Game tied, 2-2.
End-6th: My fingers are frozen. I had to relocate inside. Didn't pack gloves for this trip. Never figured they'd be needed. My bad. Anyway, both starting pitchers are out. The Cardinals pinch hit for Carpenter with two out and man on the corners, sending Allen Craig to the plate. Rangers manager Ron Washington immediately yanked Wilson for Alexi Ogando but Craig lined one past the glove of Cruz for an RBI single. Good thing Cruz blocked it with his leg on a dive or it would have rolled all the way to the wall. Furcal then took Cruz to the wall in right for the final out that was nearly a three-run homer. Cards lead, 3-2.
Final lines: Wilson 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 4 K, 94 pitches, 50 strikes
It's over: Like I said earlier, print work has to come first and the game got over so quickly that I got way behind on my story. Blame the St. Louis bullpen, which retired the final eight Texas hitters in order to finish up a 3-2 win. Cardinals lead the series, 1-0.
Game Two is Thursday night at 8:05.