Diary of An Elimination Game

After a mild day of World Series party planning, here’s the way it went for Game 6.

6:30: Get home, preheat the oven, and prepare DiGiorno (not delivery) pizza, bread sticks and Nestle Toll House cookies.

7:04: After watching someone named “Joe” sing the National Anthem, grab the pizza and bread sticks and bring them downstairs to a waiting family. Food is served and sitting down by first pitch.

7:05: First pitch from Jaime Garcia, ball one.

7:07: Garcia walks Ian Kinsler. A bad start.

7:07: First TV shot of the people in the first two rows texting and talking on the phone, showing no interest whatsoever in the game.

7:08: Elvis Andrus gets a hit to send Kinsler to third. Our first “oh no” moment of the night.

7:09: Josh Hamilton singles home Kinsler. 1-0 Rangers. Damn.

7:12: Garcia Ks Michael Young. First out. OK.

7:16: Garcia gets out of the first down 1-0. The Redbirds dodge a bullet.

7:21: Rafael Furcal flies out to center to start the Cardinals first.

7:22: Skip Schumaker gets the first Redbird hit of the night.

7:25: With one out, Lance Berkman drives a homer to left-center off Colby Lewis. Pandemonium. 2-1 Cards. Wow! Who said during The Fast Lane that moving Berkman to the cleanup spot would prove to be a big move?

7:28: David Freese strikes out to end the first inning. A chance to exhale and relax.

7:31: Top second. Mike Napoli up. Walk him. Please.

7:34: Napoli walks. I’m fine with it.

7:37: The routine 5-6-4 DP hit into by Colby Lewis. Great blimp shot of it.

7:40: The pesky Kinsler doubles home Craig Gentry to tie it at 2. C’mon Jaime.

7:42: Mitchell Boggs already warming up for the Cardinals.

7:44: Garcia gets Andrus. 49 pitches through two innings.

7:51: Bottom second. Colby Lewis completes the first 1-2-3 inning of the night.

7:58: Another Cardinals double play gets Garcia out of trouble. 2-2.

8:01: Thinking that Furcal’s free-agent price has come way down as he flies out to start the bottom of the third.

8:05: Albert Pujols watches a Jeff Brantley style 85 mph fastball down the middle go by. What’s up with that? Then Albert shows track power to end the third.

8:08 Top four. Fernando Salas replaces Garcia. An hour and three minutes after his first pitch, Jaime calls it a night.

8:09: Joe Buck points out that Lewis has set down seven Cardinals in a row.

8:10: Top four. In the World freaking Series, Matt Holliday fails to catch a popup because he thinks Furcal can catch it. Nelson Cruz goes to second. Mike Napoli up, runner at second and nobody out. Walk him. Holliday picks bad times to screw up defensively.

8:13: Napoli singles home Cruz. Should have walked him. Rangers lead 3-2. Better get another DP here. Or a K. Popups are an adventure.

8:15: A strikeout.

8:16: Lewis will try to bunt. First try is foul. Second one … Salas throws it into center field. Terrible. Napoli turns an ankle at second. Terrible defense by St. Louis. Brutal. Napoli looks OK.

8:19: Kinsler up. He could end it quickly.

8:20: Kinsler strikes out looking. Salas needs one more out.

8:22: Salas gets Andrus to fly out to left, ending the top of the fourth. Whew.

8:26: Berkman reaches on an error by Michael Young. A chance for Holliday to atone. He walks to bring up Mr. Freese.

8:28: A wild throw by Andrus on a hard Holliday slide. OK … here’s a chance for Yadi. That was going to be a double play.

8:31: Happy that the lady in the second row woke up with Molina at the plate. Must have been a long day for her. Sooooo tired at the World Series.

8:34: Lance Lynn up in the bullpen. Who is it supposed to be?

8:35: Albert Pujols sends the runner, and Molina grounds to third. Freese safe at second as the runner scores. 3-3. New game. Runner at second for Punto. Jon Jay on deck.

8:38: Nick Punto strikes out to end the fourth inning, 3-3.

8:41: Joe Buck is prescient in saying a routine popup, which have been anything but tonight. A gasp as Freese drops it. Oh my.

8:43: Michael Young doubles home Hamilton, who reached on the error. Wow.

8:48: Napoli is walked intentionally Good move.

8:53: Ron Washington leaves Colby Lewis in to hit with the bases loaded. He strikes out and stays in for the bottom of the fifth. I like Lewis being in there rather than one of the Rangers’ relievers.

8:58: Cards go 1-2-3 in the fifth.

8:59: Here comes Lynn. Is it supposed to be him? Time for some cookies. Good idea by DiGiorno.

9:12: Hard to argue with those complaining about Pujols in this World Series. Aside from Game 3, he’s done absolutely nothing. Falls to 0-for-3 with a strikeout looking here.

9:14: Thank goodness for Lance Berkman, who reaches on an infield hit, the third time he’s reached. Holliday up.

9:19: Poor Matt Holliday. He’s hurt, but hustles down the line on another Young error to make it first and second with one out in the sixth. He’s battling through some things. A chance for Freese to atone for his error.

9:24: Freese walks. Ogando in. Allen Craig far behind?

9:29: New game again! Molina’s bases-loaded walk ties it at four! Still alive and kicking.

9:30: Bases still loaded. Holliday is picked off third! What is this, YMCA fifth-grade ball? Jeez.

9:33: Punto walks. Ogando out. Holland in. No chance here.

9:37: Jon Jay ends a bases-loaded threat with a groundout back to the pitcher. What’s new?

9:42: Holliday hurt his finger being picked off. Now I feel bad. Lynn for a second inning?

9:42: Lynn allows an Adrian Beltre moon shot. Ouch. Tony keeps him in. Uh-oh.

9:44: Nelson Cruz goes yard deeeeeep to left. Why is Lynn still in?

9:46: Napoli strikes out. Sigh of relief.

9:47: David Murphy singles. David Murphy?

9:53: Finally. Dotel in for Lynn. Runner at first. Ooops. Wild pitch. Runner at second. Oooops, Kinsler hit. 7-4. Game over, I think.

9:55: Andrus strikes out to end the Rangers seventh.

10:02: Uneventful Cardinals seventh. This is bad.

10:09. 1-2-3 Rangers eighth. Six more outs. Three more runs.

10:16: Craig, in for the injured Holliday, homers. 7-5.

10:34: My goodness, what has happened to Furcal? Grounds back to the pitcher with the sacks jammed. End of eight.

10:44: Jason Motte pitches top nine. Walks Napoli. No runs. Cards need two against Feliz. Rangers World Champs?

10:48: Theriot strikes out. Overmatched.

10:49: Hey, an Albert sighting. Double to left. Interesting.

10:51: Berkman walks.

10:53: Craig K’d by Feliz. One out left. Freese? Sure.

10:54: FREESE!!! Over Cruz’ head. A triple! 7-7! Unbelievable. Unreal. Crazy. Wow.

10:55: Extras.

10:58: Motte’s gotta keep it tied.

11:02: Crap. Hamilton homers. No homers in the series. Damn. 9-7. Ridiculous. Jeez. Perfect pitch. For Hamilton. Damn.

11:06: Bottom 10. Need two … again.

11:09: Darren Oliver in. There’s a chance.

11:15: How about this? Descalso and Jay single. Lohse moves ‘em over. Scott Feldman in to pitch to The Riot.

11:19: Theriot gets one home. Awesome! One away. Not over.

11:21: A walk to Pujols. Walk to Berkman coming so Feldman can pitch to Craig.

11:23: They pitch to Berkman. What are they thinking? I actually feel my heart beating.

11:24: Thank you! Berkman drives in Jay with a hit. Tie ball game … again!!!

11:26: To the 11th. Amazing. Fox notes Cards are first team to come back from two-run deficits twice in the ninth and 10 innings. They are relentless.

11:29: Jake Westbrook in. Uh oh.

11:36: How about that? A rather uneventful 11th for Jake. He’ll be in for four or five here, or until they get to Hamilton again and Rhodes comes in.

11:40: Freese again. Freese AGAIN! Walk off. Homer. 10-9. Game 7! We’ll see you … tomorrow night! Amazing.

One of the half-dozen best World Series games of my lifetime. Carlton Fisk Game 6 in ’75. The Buckner game in ’86. Kirby Puckett in ’91. Yanks/D’Backs games four and five in 2001, and this one. Wow. What a Friday it’ll be in St. Louis.