Mike Napoli home run sends Texas to Game 4 victory
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Edwin Jackson walked seven batters — the most in a World Series game in 14 years — and Mike Napoli followed the last two free passes with a three-run homer off reliever Mitchell Boggs' first pitch to give the Texas Rangers a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Instead of sending Chris Carpenter to the mound with a chance to clinch their 11th title, the Cardinals find themselves in the first World Series since 2003 that's tied at two games apiece. That ensures a return to Busch Stadium for Game 6 on Wednesday.
Derek Holland allowed two hits in 8 1-3 innings and was pulled after walking Rafael Furcal. Neftali Feliz finished the two-hitter.
"Basically what happened is he just worked us over and shut us down," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.
A night after tying World Series records with three home runs, five hits and six RBIs in the Cardinals' 16-7 victory, Albert Pujols was 0 for 4 — batting with no one on base his first three times up, then flying out with two on in the ninth.
While Pujols was a non-factor, Lance Berkman went 2 for 3 and improved to 7 for 15 (.467) in this World Series and 12 for 28 (.429) overall in Series play, including his appearance for Houston in 2005.
In a rematch of the opener, won by the Cardinals 3-2, Carpenter starts Game 5 on Monday night and C.J. Wilson goes for Texas.
"If you want to choose somebody from the St. Louis Cardinals to pitch that game, it's Chris," La Russa said. "I mean, there isn't anything about pitching on the road in a hostile environment. I think he actually likes it, pitches better. His problem is going to be good hitters, and he'll have to pitch effectively. But we love playing behind him because we know he's going to compete as hard as he can. He's got a lot to compete with."
Twenty-two of 40 teams to win Game 4 and tie the Series at 2 have gone on to the championship. The Series had not been 2-all since 2003, when the Marlins overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat the Yankees in six games.
Jackson has had a wild streak throughout his career. He walked eight in his third major league start, at San Francisco in 2003. He then matched that on June 25 last year, when he finished one shy of the record for walks in a no-hitter as he pitched Arizona over Tampa Bay 1-0.
Hits weren't much of a problem. Jackson allowed three in 5 1-3 innings — including none after the second. He went to three-ball counts on four of his first 10 batters with the help of some long outs — four flyouts at or just in front of the warning track. He threw just 59 of 109 pitches for strikes.
"I thought he pitched really well," La Russa said. "He missed a few times, walked a couple guys, but he kept making pitches. Overall I give him a huge plus for keeping us in the game."
The seven walks were three shy of the Series record, set by the New York Yankees' Bill Bevens in Game 4 in 1947 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. No one had walked seven in the Series since Florida's Livan Hernandez had eight in Game 5 in 1997 against Cleveland.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre made a leaping catch on Furcal's liner to start the game. It turned out to be that kind of night for the Cardinals.
Texas, which has not lost consecutive games since Aug. 23-25 against Boston, was ahead after 10 pitches from Jackson. That ended the Cardinals' streak of scoring first in 10 straight postseason games, one short of the record set by Detroit from 1972-84.
Elvis Andrus singled sharply to left with one out and Josh Hamilton, just 1 for 12 (.083) coming in, doubled down the right field line. A pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs, and David Murphy flied out to Matt Holliday a couple of steps in front of the left field warning track, ending a 25-pitch inning.
Mitch Moreland, inserted at first base after Napoli's struggles on Saturday, wound up helping to save a run in the second. Berkman doubled to the right-center gap with one out and, after David Freese struck out, Yadier Molina hit a grounder off the front of the mound. Second baseman Ian Kinsler ranged to the shortstop side of the mound, gloved the ball and made an off-balance throw to first, where Moreland scooped it.
With his pitch count climbing, Jackson walked Nelson Cruz and Murphy with one out in the sixth. Napoli greeted Boggs by sending a 95 mph fastball just inside the left-field foul pole, about 10 rows deep. In their first-row seats, former President George W. Bush and Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan exchanged a high-five. On the mound, Boggs grimaced.
"Well, it looked like it was a bad decision. Missed with his pitch," La Russa said. "He just missed and Napoli didn't."