ARLINGTON, Texas -- Greetings on another spectacular summer night at ... oops, it's Oct. 24. Easy to forget with this great weather. Another sunny, 80-degree day and another perfect night for the World Series as we get set for Game Five at Rangers Ballpark.
We have an off day tomorrow in St. Louis and it's supposed to be 82 there, which is terrific considering how it rained and rained and we froze in Games 1-2 as the temperatures got down into the 30s. I endured some frigid winds and rain to get to my trip up the Arch last week, and I'll probably enjoy a little walk in the park tomorrow.
As for Game Six on Wednesday? Good lord. The temperatures are going to be in the mid-50s and there's an 80 percent chance of rain all day. It doesn't look good at all but things are fine for Thursday and Friday so all of us covering this series are bracing for an extra off day in St. Loo.
Roger Staubach just got a big roar with the first pitch, down and away and scooped by former Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers (who by now probably washed his 2006 vintage pine tar from his hand). As for the anthem: Demi Lovato? Ugh. Terrible.
Cardinals lineup: Furcal, ss; Craig, rf; Pujols, 1b; Holliday, lf; Berkman, dh; Freese, 3b; Molina, c; Schumaker, cf; Punto, 2b.....Carpenter pitching
Rangers lineup: Kinsler, 2b; Andrus, ss; Hamilton, cf; Young, dh; Beltre, 3b; Cruz, rf; Murphy, lf; Napoli, c; Moreland, 1b....Wilson pitching.
End-1st: The first pitch, a ball from Wilson to Furcal, came at 7:09 CT and it's 72 degrees. It feels warmer. Very nice. On the third pitch, Furcal lines a rocket right into the glove of Beltre at third -- just like he did to lead off the first inning last night. Bizarre. Wilson pitches 1-2-3 first, getting Pujols for the third out on a line drive to center field that saw the Cardinals give their star the green light on a 3-0 pitch. Pujols is 0 for 11 in Games 1-2-4-5 of this series. Of course, there's that matter of Game Three.
Mid-2nd: The Cardinals must not have liked me cracking on the offense as they've gotten to Wilson -- who. is. working. sooooooooo. slowly. -- to take a 2-0 lead. Wilson opened with walks to Holliday and Berkman, then gave out a one-out RBI single to left to Molina (right), which Murphy booting and dropping the ball in left for an error that allowed Berkman to third. Schumaker then grounded to first to Cruz, who dropped it while eyeing home and had to step on the back as Berkman scored. Murphy then redeemed himself with a sensational play for the final out, a headlong dive to his left Ron Swoboda style, to snare Punto's liner and save another run. Cards lead, 2-0. Early lead for Carpenter. It was a 30-pitch inning for Wilson after an eight-pitch first.
End-3rd: Wilson continues to struggle and even made an error, flipping Furcal's topper past Cruz at first. After a sacrifice, an intentional walk to Pujols helped the get the Rangers out of the inning as Holliday grounded into a 5-4-3 DP with runners at the corners. Texas then came back to break through against Carpenter in the bottom of the inning as Moreland, batting 2 for 23 in the postseason, sent a one-out bomb to right, a 424-foot laser into the upper deck. Cards lead, 2-1.
Mid-5th: We're halfway home with the Cards still up, 2-1, but the Rangers are using the walk-Albert strategy to perfection. They've done it twice, giving Holliday a chance with five men on base, and haven't given up a run. This was a 24-pitch inning and No. 100, a full-count offering to Holliday with the bases loaded ended up as a routine grounder to short, leaving the Cards 1-7 in RSP situations tonight.
Wilson got in trouble by giving up a leadoff single to Schumaker and a four-pitch walk to Punto that brought Napoli to the mound (left). You wonder how long he is for this game. But the folks here are happy as we head into "Deep in the Heart of Texas" time. Wilson at 100 pitches, just 52 strikes. Survival mode, but certainly not the way to get a big payday in free agency either.
Mid-6th: Wilson is mercifully out of the game but with no further damage. He gave up a one-out single and was relieved by Scott Feldman, who gave up a single to Molina. A Schumaker grounder sent runners to second and third but Punto struck out to end the inning. The Cardinals are 1-9 in RSP situations and have left seven. Wilson went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, two runs (one earned), five walks and three strikeouts. He threw 108 pitches, 57 strikes. Ugly. But he survived.
End-6th: And the Cardinals' lack of run production is officially haunting them now as the game is tied. With two out and nobody on, Carpenter hung a 75-mph curveball and Beltre was waiting for it, corkscrewing himself into the ground and even going down on his right knee to golf it into the seats in left. Carpenter then gave up singles to Cruz and Murphy and got a visit from pitching coach Dave Duncan. Napoli got the crowd jazzed with a long drive but Schumaker hauled it in near the 407-foot sign in center field. Game tied, 2-2.
Mid-7th: Allen Craig has been great in this series but what did he just do? He walked with one out off Alexi Ogando and tried to steal second with Pujols batting. I don't care if he's safe or out, that was just stupid. In this case, he was out and the Rangers still went ahead and walked Pujols. Holliday singled him first to third, taking second as Pujols forced a throw home and Berkman was walked intentionally. Freese then lofted the first pitch for a fly to center and Texas escaped again. St. Louis' damage tab: 1-10 in RSP situations with 10 LOB -- eight in scoring position.
End-7th: La Russa shows faith in Carpenter, keeping him in against Hamilton with two out and a man on first. Faith rewarded. Fly ball to center on the first pitch. It was Carpenter's 101st pitch. I say he comes out for one more inning. Game remains tied at 2-2.
End-8th: The Cardinals played with fire too long but not driving in runs and they got burned. Napoli did the damage with a two-run double to right-center with the bases loaded. He's got nine RBIs in the series and is the leader in the clubhouse for MVP honors. The Rangers lead, 4-2, and they're three outs away from the series lead.
IT'S OVER: Neftali Feliz gets the save, striking out Pujols in the ninth in the process, and Texas has a 3-2 lead in the series with a 4-2 win. See you Wednesday in St. Louis.