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Blog Entry

Cardinals take Game 1 behind Craig's big hit

Posted on: October 19, 2011 11:13 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 11:27 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have a 1-0 lead in the World Series after a 3-2 win in Game 1.

Hero: Allen Craig came on to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and third, a tie game and two outs. He delivered a line drive down the right field line that ended up a game-winning single. Having him as a weapon off the bench is huge for the Cardinals, and will be even bigger when the series shifts to Texas and a DH spot becomes available.

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Goat: It's a tough call here, because this was a pretty well-played game by both teams that could have gone either way. But Alexi Ogando was brought in from the bullpen to get a big out. That's what his job has been and will continue to be. He didn't come through Wednesday night. C.J. Wilson putting the runners on base also bears mention here, but Ogando's job is to be the bailout guy. He didn't bail Wilson out.

Turning point: There were three big ones. The first was the Cardinals' initial 2-0 lead on a Lance Berkman single. The next was Mike Napoli's game-tying, two-run homer. And then Craig's big hit ultimately proved the biggest play of the game and was the defining turning point after Napoli's shot.

It was over when ... In the top of the seventh, the Rangers put two runners on base with one out. Marc Rzepczynski was summoned to face the left-handed hitting David Murphy. Rangers manager Ron Washington countered with right-handed Craig Gentry. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa elected to stick with Rzepczynski against both Gentry and fellow righty Esteban German -- even with right-hander Octavio Dotel warming in the bullpen. Rzepczynski struck both out to end the threat. It would be the Rangers' last threat of the game.

Next: Game 2 is Thursday night at 8:05 p.m. ET, here in St. Louis. The Cardinals will run Jaime Garcia out to the mound while the Rangers are going with Colby Lewis. Look for the Game 2 preview here at Eye On Baseball very soon.

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