ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Allen Craig singled in the go-ahead run off reliever Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning with a sinking line drive that dropped just in front of right fielder Nelson Cruz, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night in a chilly World Series opener.
On a night when all the runs were driven in with opposite-field hits to right, Lance Berkman struck first for St. Louis with a two-run single in the fourth against C.J. Wilson. Catcher Mike Napoli watched Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday score, but a few minutes later he celebrated in the top of the fifth when he tied it 2-all with a two-run shot off Chris Carpenter.
Carpenter got the win, allowing five hits in six innings, and Jason Motte got his fifth post-season save. Wilson walked a career-high six in 52⁄3 innings and took the loss.
Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers in Game 2 on Thursday night against Jaime Garcia.
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Pujols had Cardinals fans cheering in the top of the sixth when he slid to stop Michael Young's grounder behind first and threw to Carpenter for the out, stranding Ian Kinsler at third.
Then in the bottom half, NLCS MVP David Freese hit an opposite-field double to right with one out and took third on a wild pitch. Wilson struck out Yadier Molina, then pitched carefully to Nick Punto and walked him on four pitches.
Alexi Ogando relieved, and with many of the red-clad Cardinals' fans standing and waving white towels, Craig sliced a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line. Cruz, the ALCS MVP, tried for a sliding catch, but the ball bounced just in front of his glove for a single as Freese scored. Texas was lucky that the ball struck Cruz on a foot; otherwise, it would have rolled to the wall.
Carpenter became the first St. Louis starter to reach the sixth inning since the division series. He allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one.
Wilson, who has a 7.17 post-season ERA, gave up three runs and four hits in 52⁄3 innings with the six walks — two intentional — and four strikeouts.
After limiting the Cardinals to one hit in the first three innings and preventing any runners from getting past first, Wilson was hurt by three misfired pitches during a four-pitch span in the fourth.
After falling behind Pujols 2-0 in the count, Wilson bounced a 2-1 pitch that hit the three-time NL MVP on the left foot. He tried to go inside on Holliday but left the next pitch over the plate, and Holliday hit an opposite-field double into the right-field corner as Pujols took third. Then, with the count 1-0 to Berkman, Wilson tried to go inside again but allowed the ball to drift over the plate. Berkman went the other way and chopped the ball over first base and into right field as the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead. Wilson shook his head back and fourth as he walked back to the mound.
The lead was short-lived.
Adrian Beltre singled leading off the fifth and, one out later, Napoli turned on a high pitch and sent it about 10 rows deep into the right-field seats for his second home run of the post-season. A fired-up Carpenter had escaped a two-on, no-outs jam in the second inning when Napoli hit into an inning-ending double play.
A sellout crowd of 46,406 filled the ballpark for a game with a temperature of 49 degrees at the start, tied for the third-coldest for a Series opener since Major League Baseball started keeping records in 1975. All the Cardinals' starters wore long-sleeve undershirts.