David Freese refused to let the St. Louis Cardinals' magical season end Thursday night, hitting a dramatic 11th-inning home run for a 10-9 victory over the Texas Rangers.
The exhilarating, breathtaking victory evened the World Series at three games apiece, with Game 7 scheduled tonight at Busch Stadium.
The Rangers twice were within one strike from winning their first World cheap jerseys from chinaSeries in franchise history. They instead were left watching in utter disbelief as the Cardinals came back in the ninth and 10th innings, setting up Freese's heroics in the 11th.
"You had to be here,'' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, "to believe it.''
Freese rescued the Cardinals in the ninth inning with a two-out, two-strike, two-run triple off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, tying the game at 7-apiece. It was Lance Berkman's turn for heroics in the 10th, hitting a two-out, two-strike, one-run single off Scott Feldman, tying the game at 9.
And, then, it was Freese once again, hitting a leadoff homer to center field off reliever Mark Lowe on a 3-and-2 pitch. It sent the Busch Stadium crowd of 47,325 in utter bedlam. Freese crossed the plate, and was mobbed by his teammates, ripping his jersey off in excitement.
"The crowd, almost too numb too move, refused to leave their seats, blackhawks jerseys almost in disbelief what they witnessed. It was the first time in World Series history that a team ever rallied twice from two runs down in the ninth inning or later.
"It's not that easy to win a world championship,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said, "as we found out tonight. Give the credit to the Cardinals for taking the game away from us.
"I expect us to respond [tonight].''
The Cardinals, 10 1/2 games out of the wild-card race on Aug. 25 and three out with just five games remaining, saved their greatest drama for what will be remembered as one of the most thrilling games in the Cardinals' rich history.
"That defines our team, that game, how we kept miami heat jerseyscoming back,'' said Freese, who grew up in the St. Louis area. "It's like a dream.''
Yet, the dream won't be fulfilled, Freese said, unless they win the World Series.
"That's what I want,'' Freese said. "I hope everybody is smiling 24 hours from now.''
This will be the first time since 2002 there will be a seventh game of the World Series, already a series that will long be remembered.
"It was unbelievable,'' said Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver. "One of the greatest games ever.''
And certainly, as it's turning out, one of the greatest series.
"It should be a fun game, looking forward to it,'' Rangers nfl jerseys cheap infielder Michael Young said. "It's been a classic series. We'll get an opportunity to make it better with a Game 7.''
Still, the Rangers know it never should have gotten to that point. Not with Feliz, who had not blown a save since Aug. 6, with a 0.87 postseason ERA. Not with a two-run lead in the ninth, another two-run lead in the 10th, and needing just one strike.
"We thought we should have had it couple of times,'' Young said. "Anytime (Feliz) is in the game , we feel like we're going to win. We felt like we had the game won, so it's obviously tough. But we're a good team for a reason.''
Said La Russa: "This guys is a legitimate 1-2-3, and they're shaking hands. Our club does a real good job of just trying to get something started. And once they get something started, the other club worries.''
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who hit a two-run homer in the 10th that looked like it would be the game-winner, still had difficulty digesting how it all unraveled.
"Playing the game, you're going to experience new things,'' Hamilton said. "And this is definitely an experience.''
One that forever will be etched in memory, with both teams refusing to let their season end.
"These are the best two teams in baseball,'' Rangers pitcher C.J. cheap jerseys Wilson says, "so neither of us are just going to give up.''
The Cardinals certainly proved they're not going to go away quietly. Now, the Rangers have to prove they can bounce back, with a Texas-sized state of pressure resting on their shoulders.
It's the stuff dreams are made.
"Growing up, you see stuff like that happen,'' Freese said, "those become memories. As far as being part of this comeback, it wouldn't be as sweet if this group of guys weren't with me. This is cool to have this group doing this kind of stuff.''
Yes, just like playing whiffle ball in the backyard, dreaming of becoming a hero.
"Only when you're a little kid and you're out there,'' Berkman said, "you don't have a bunch of reporters and fans that are ready to call you a chocking dog if you don't come through.
"So when you're a kid, you don't realize what a big moment that is.''