SPORTS

Cardinals win World Series

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Cardinals won a remarkable World Series they weren't even supposed to reach, beating the Texas Rangers 6-2 in Game 7 on Friday night with another key hit by hometown star David Freese and six gutty innings from Chris Carpenter.

A day after an epic Game 6 that saw them twice within one strike of elimination, the Cardinals captured their 11th World Series crown. After a whole fall on the edge, Tony La Russa's team didn't dare mess with Texas, or any more drama.

Freese's two-run double tied it in the first inning against loser Matt Harrison and Allen Craig hit a go-ahead homer in the third.

Pitching on short rest, Carpenter improved to 2-0 in the Series and 4-0 in the postseason. La Russa won his third Series title.

In the first Series Game 7 in nine years, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young had RBI doubles in the first against Carpenter, the first pitcher in a decade to make three starts in one Series. But St. Louis came right back in the bottom half off Matt Harrison, who walked two batters before the big hit by Freese.

Craig, starting because of an injury to Matt Holliday, hit his third home run of the Series with one out in the third, sending a 91 mph pitch to the opposite field in right. The ball landed in Cardinals bullpen to the delight of the Busch Stadium record crowd of 47,399.

Craig also made an outstanding catch in the sixth, jumping to snag a drive by Nelson Cruz that appeared likely to hit the top of the left-field wall.

St. Louis added two runs off the bullpen in the fifth without getting a hit. Yadier Molina walked with the bases loaded for the second straight night, this time with Scott Feldman pitching, and ace C.J. Wilson came in and hit Rafael Furcal with his first pitch, forcing in another run.

Texas pitchers tied a Series record with 40 walks and also hit four batters. Other than Craig's homer, all the Cardinals' runs reached base by walk or hit batter.

On Thursday night, the Cardinals were twice down to their final strike before an exhilarating 10-9, 11-inning victory in one of baseball's greatest games.

Craig homered in the eighth to start the comeback from a 7-4 deficit. Freese, who grew up in the St. Louis area, hit a tying, two-run double in the ninth, Lance Berkman had a tying single in a two-run 10th and Freese won the game with a leadoff home run in the 11th.

"You hear people say anyone can get the last three outs," Texas manager Ron Washington said Friday afternoon. "No, no, no, no. You've got to have a special, special soul, special mentality, special aggressiveness, something, to get those last outs. We didn't get them."

Carpenter, pitching on three days' rest for only the second time in his career, allowed five hits and two walks in the first six innings, striking out five. He threw 89 pitches.

Harrison gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in four innings, and Feldman relieved in the fifth.

St. Louis won its first title since 2006 and became the 19th team to overturn a 3-2 Series deficit. The Rangers were trying for their first championship in the 51-season history of a franchise that started as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961.

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