St. Louis was the sight of the infamous Game 6 meltdown for the Rangers. Twice in the game Texas needed one strike to win the game and the championship, and both times they couldn’t get the job done.
In the bottom of the ninth, closing pitcher Neftali Feliz faced David Freese with a two-run lead and two runners on base. Freese hit, what appeared to be a routine fly ball for Nelson Cruz in right field, but instead it landed over Cruz’ head for a game-tying triple. After Josh Hamilton hit a monster two-run home run for the Rangers in the 10th inning, but Lance Berkman tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a 2-2 count. Freese would hit a walk-off home run in the the 11th inning and the Cardinals would go on to win Game 7.
On Friday night, Texas walked into the stadium hoping to erase the World Series Ghost from 2011. Starting a three-game series against arguably the best team in baseball is hard enough. Throw in the rest of the circumstances from two years ago and the task is even more daunting. Texas walked away from Game 1 with a 6-4 victory thanks, in part, to Cruz and his three RBI. Obviously, this is a three game stretch in the middle of a 162 game season, but these three games could go a long way in helping the Rangers move forward this Summer.
With the win, it shows the Rangers are possibly getting back on track. After a terrible homestand, in which they lost six games in a row and finished 4-11, Texas has won four of their last five games. With Ian Kinsler back from his injury, it’s important that the Rangers keep improving to keep pace with the Oakland A’s in the division.