Rangers Beat Cardinals 2-1 To Tie Series 1-1

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The World Series is tied up thanks to some late-game drama in St. Louis Thursday night. The Texas Rangers scored two runs in the ninth inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-to-1. Before the rally, the Cards appeared to be headed for their second straight win.

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ARI SHAPIRO, host: The World Series is tied now, thanks to some late game drama last night in St. Louis. The Texas Rangers scored two runs in the ninth inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals two to one. Before that rally, the Cardinals appeared to be headed for their second straight win. Instead, it's one game apiece now, as the series shifts to Texas. NPR's Tom Goldman was at Busch Stadium in St. Louis last night, and he joins us.

Good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Ok. So that was a shocker. How did it happen?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GOLDMAN: You know, it started innocuously, as these things often do, with a little bloop single by Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler that dropped into shallow left field. But then the fireworks started. Kinsler stole second base, barely beating the throw by St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. It was a key moment. And here's Kinsler's teammate, Elvis Andrus, after the game.

ELVIS ANDRUS: That stolen base changed the whole approach, the whole game, and changed my approach in the play, too.

GOLDMAN: Now, Andrus was at the plate batting when Kinsler stole second. And Andrus had been trying to bunt and move Kinsler along that way. But now with Kinsler at second, Andrus swung away and he hit one to the outfield. He got to second. Kinsler was now on third. And then two straight Texas batters hit long fly balls. They were both caught, but they also scored Kinsler and Andrus. Those were the winning runs.

And St. Louis manager Tony La Russa called it a classic ninth inning comeback. It really was executed beautifully.

SHAPIRO: Was it just great plays by Texas in the ninth inning there, or were there some mistakes by St. Louis too?

GOLDMAN: Oh, yeah. There most definitely were. St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols missed cutting off a throw from the outfield that allowed Andrus to stretch his single to a double. And then Tony La Russa, who we'd been praising to the hilt for all his great decision making, he made what appears to be his first major mistake.

After Andrus's hit moved him to second and Kinsler to third, La Russa took out Jason Motte, his closing pitcher, a guy who throws nearly 100 miles per hour. And he replaced him with a guy who throws around 90. And that's a big difference for a batter. And after La Russa made the change, those two Rangers connected on those long fly balls.

Now, Motte was asked about the change. He answered like a good soldier.

JASON MOTTE: You know, he's the boss and he makes the decisions, and he does things how he does them, why he does them. So, you know, that's the way it is.

GOLDMAN: Now, Ari, one TV commentator prone to hyperbole, as they are sometimes in that medium, said the decision could cost St. Louis the series. I think that's a bit much at this point. These teams are in a tussle and one play, one managerial move, isn't going to bring the whole thing tumbling down.

SHAPIRO: Well, Tom, there were eight innings leading up to that eventful climax. How was the game up until then?

GOLDMAN: It was good. It was a pitcher's duel. Texas's Colby Lewis was very good. Jaime Garcia, the 25-year-old from Mexico, the first pitcher from Mexico to start a World Series game since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, he was brilliant. He pitched seven shutout innings.

Allen Craig, the hero of game one with his pinch-hit single that drove in the winning run for St. Louis, did exactly the same thing last night against the same pitcher, even. And he gave St. Louis their one to nothing lead that they took into the ninth inning, which, as we have talked about, they then lost.

SHAPIRO: Well, the next three games are in Texas. What are you looking for there?

GOLDMAN: You know, it's still hard to say. This was a huge win for Texas. They should have some momentum. But, you know, these teams are so close. Even though the Ranges are going to have home field advantage, I'd say this thing is still way up for grabs.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Tom Goldman.

Thanks, Tom.

GOLDMAN: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: This is NPR News.

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