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World Series Game 4 - Rangers Even Series Behind Holland’s Gem

Danny Lee |
October 23, 2011 | 10:02 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Derek Holland pitched a gem for Texas (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Derek Holland pitched a gem for Texas (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The Texas Rangers shut out the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday night to tie the World Series at two games apiece. Here are some notes to take away from Game 4.

The game was over when…

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli launched Mitchell Boggs' high fastball over the left field wall for a three-run homer in the sixth inning to give Texas a 4-0 lead. It was Boggs’ first pitch after coming in to relieve St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson. Napoli has now driven in seven runs through four games in the series.

Jackson, who is notorious for getting off to slow starts, survived a first-inning scare after getting David Murphy to fly out to deep center field with the bases loaded. The journeyman starter may have coughed up seven walks, but he could have used a little more help on a night where no Cardinal other than Lance Berkman could muster a hit.

Welcome to October, Rangers starters!

Maybe it's the Sidney Crosby-esque mustache that he is sporting, but Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland showed up big on a night when a burned out Texas bullpen really needed the rest after being extended to 117 pitches in Game 3.

The left-handed hurler's longest outing of the postseason entering the game came in a five-inning effort against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. But on Sunday, Holland struck out seven, walked two and allowed no runs on two hits in 8 1/3 innings of work to help Texas even the series.

Rangers bullpen sees limited action

Speaking of that Rangers bullpen, one guy in particular who could benefit from the night off is Alexi Ogando, who hurled 35 pitches in the Rangers' Game 3 loss.

Neftali Feliz, the only Texas reliever to see action, walked one and struck out one in recording the final two outs. With the series now essentially a best-of-three, the Cards may have pumped new life into the Rangers if it comes down to a battle of the bullpens from here on out.

A helping hand

Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Holland received some assistance from his defense early in the game on his way to turning in a much-needed extended outing for the Rangers. First, it was Adrian Beltre’s glove that bailed him out when the third baseman snagged a Rafael Furcal line-drive shot for the first out of the game.

In the second inning, it was time for Ian Kinsler (seen left) to show off his glove skills when he scooped up a deflected ball hit to second base to throw out Yadier Molina and end the inning with a runner on.

Pujols powerless

Albert Pujols' historic Game 3 performance, in which he erupted for three home runs, placed him alongside Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players in history to accomplish that feat in a World Series game. But the Cardinals first baseman was silenced with an 0- for-4 showing on Sunday night.

Tenth Avenue Freese-Out

David Freese's 13-game postseason hitting streak came to a halt when the Cardinals third baseman grounded out to Elvis Andrus to finish the game 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Pregame musings

Zooey Deschanel (Breezy Baldwin/Creative Commons)
Zooey Deschanel (Breezy Baldwin/Creative Commons)
Zooey Deschanel (seen right), star of FOX’s comedy "New Girl" belted out the national anthem before the game. Yeah, sure, it is probably just another shameless plug for the network’s primetime lineup, but it’s a welcome break from your usual batch of “Glee” autotune-abusers and “American Idol” contestants you didn't know were still relevant.

Later in the game, announcer Joe Buck pointed out that cast members from "New Girl" and "Glee" had left their seats with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rangers fans watching at home probably didn't like knowing that they were snubbed of World Series seats just so some TV personalities could get some free face time.

Former President George W. Bush tossed out the first pitch to Nolan Ryan prior to Game 4. Dubya, always adept at throwing strikes, nailed it once again, but the ball tipped off the Hall of Famer's glove and rolled toward the backstop. I can't help but wonder if the pitch surprised Ryan because No. 43 released while his intro cue was still playing. Too soon to call it a pre-emptive strike?


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