With their World Series hopes close to essentially being dashed, the Rangers sent the top of their order up against St. Louis Cardinals de facto closer Jason Motte to try to scratch one run across the plate to send the game to extra innings or two to win it.
The struggling top of the order opted for the latter, and it was because of the aggressive nature of the Rangers on the base paths, most notably by Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus.
Both ended up scoring on sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, and Neftali Feliz closed the game out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rangers a 2-1 win, making them the first team to win a World Series game after trailing through eight innings since 2001 when the Diamondbacks walked off against the Yankees in Game 7.
It all started when ian Kinsler led off the inning against Motte with a bloop single that likely would have been an out had the Cardinals outfield not been guarding against doubles and playing a bit deep. Not a bad strategy, just helped the Rangers there.
Kinsler then flashed his best version of Dave Roberts in the 2004 ALCS when he stole second base with a perfect slide to just beat the throw of Yadier Molina, whose reaction showed he sure thought Kinsler was out.
Elvis Andrus was 0-for-3 but sent a line drive single to right field and advanced to second on a throw to home that was poorly cut off by Albert Pujols, putting runners at second and third with no outs and the big guys coming up to the plate with fly balls on the menu. They delivered.
Josh Hamilton, who's struggled horribly and obviously is not close to 100 percent with his groin injury, took the first pitch he saw from ancient reliever Arthur Rhodes to deep right field to score Kinsler and tie the game, as Andrus took third on the play. Then Andrus was driven in on a Michael Young sac fly to right to give the Rangers the lead.
It might not have been pretty, but the job was done, and it was all set up by the alert, aggressive baserunning from Kinsler and Andrus, who also saved at least one run with their great defense.
The defense and baserunning was the epitome of the team's resiliency this season and what makes them such a special group — special enough to not have consecutive losses now since Aug. 23-25, when they lost three straight to the Boston Red Sox.