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World Series Game 1 - Cardinals Win At Home, 3-2

Kate Rooney |
October 20, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor


Allen Craig secured his place in postseason history. (Wikimedia Commons)
Allen Craig secured his place in postseason history. (Wikimedia Commons)
Whether by home field advantage or simply superior ballplaying, the St. Louis Cardinals notched a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers to claim Game 1 of the World Series.

Pitching once again proved to be the difference maker in this postseason, as the Cardinals bullpen combined to fend off Ranger bats for good in the fifth. 

Playoff studs Lance Berkman and Mike Napoli continued their streaks of excellence, while Rangers' ace C.J. Wilson extended his playoff slump to 0-3, for a postseason ERA of 7.17--this after he closed the 2011 regular season with 16 wins and a 2.94 ERA.

If you missed the game, here's what you, well, missed.

GAME CHANGER: Allen Craig attained instant notoriety in the sixth, when the pinch-hitter drove in the go-ahead run on a single. Craig, welcome to your future as an answer in sports trivia contests. 

UNSUNG HERO: Eighth inning Cardinals pitchers. Reliever Octavio Dotel got St. Louis out of a tricky situation with a runner on third. In just five pitches, he put away Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. Then former Ranger Arthur Rhodes stepped in to close out the inning, and pitched his way around a good at-bat by Josh Hamilton. 

DEJA VU: The Rangers lost Game 1 of the World Series for the second consectuvie year, and we all know how it turned it out the first time. History isn't on Texas' side--20 of the past 25 champions hoisted the trophy after winning Game 1 (thanks ESPN for the stat). 

BLINK AND YOU MISSED IT: Or maybe you took the opportunity to grab another beer, but Wednesday's seventh inning "God Bless America" was something of a reprise. The Cardinals so enjoyed Brian Owens' rendition of the song when he appeared during their Game 3 of the NLCS, they asked the National Guard sergeant to do the honors again in the World Series' opener.

CONTROVERSIAL CALL: Thanks to TV replay, the viewers at home got to see a call the home plate umpire missed. Adrian Beltre should have stayed at the plate to continue his at-bat after fouling a ball off his foot in the ninth. Since he followed through on his swing, the ump was confused and called him out. But with one away already in the inning, it's a long shot to say Beltre reaching base would have made much of a difference.

THE POWER OF INCHES: Two Rangers missed catches by inches--centimeters, even--that could have altered the game's outcome. First baseman Michael Young faltered on a barely-fair ball that turned into Craig's RBI single, and Nelson Cruz grazed the seams of the ball on Berkman's 2-run shot that put the Cardinals up initially in the fourth. Had Cruz made the diving catch, it would have been a shoo-in for play of the game.

UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE GAME: "I think that's what you want to try and accomplish, to set the tone, get ahead,"- Captain Obvious  David Freese, Cardinals third baseman, on winning the first game.


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