ST. LOUIS — Down to their last three outs, and in danger of dropping into a serious World Series deficit, the Texas Rangers rallied against St. Louis' vaunted bullpen for a 2-1 victory Thursday night.
Josh Hamilton and Michael Young hit sacrifice flies in the ninth inning to give Texas the win.
For the second straight night, Cardinals pinch-hitter Allen Craig greeted reliever Alexi Ogando with a go-ahead single. This time, Craig did it the seventh. In Game 1, his hit in the sixth sent the Cards to a 3-2 win.
The Rangers, however, were not done quite yet. Now, after a travel day, they will host Game 3 on Saturday night. Matt Harrison is set to start for the Rangers against Kyle Lohse.
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The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia and the Rangers' Colby Lewis both pitched two-hit ball through six innings, and Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus saved a run with an outstanding defensive play.
A night after Chris Carpenter led the Cardinals to a win in the opener, Garcia retired his first nine batters and didn't allow a ball out of the infield. Using a sharp breaking ball, he allowed just three runners in the first six innings and only two singles. He struck out six and walked one, throwing 75 pitches.
Lewis was nearly as sharp as Garcia but got in trouble in the fifth, when No. 8 hitter Nick Punto singled on an 0-2 pitch with two outs. Lewis walked Garcia, an .097 hitter (6-for-62) during the regular season.
Rafael Furcal hit a one-hop smash to the shortstop side of second, and Andrus ranged over to make a diving stop. From his knees on the outfield grass, he looked to see that he had time with the pitcher running and flipped the ball with his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who just beat the sliding Garcia to the base.
Texas threatened in the fourth, when Kinsler walked leading off and Young lofted a soft, two-out single that landed just in front of charging center fielder Jon Jay. Garcia escaped by striking out Adrian Beltre after falling behind 3-1 in the count, dropping the Rangers to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the Series.
Lewis struck out three and walked two through six innings, throwing 86 pitches. He allowed five runners, but none of them advanced past second base.
Lewis gave up a two-out double to right by Furcal in the third, then retired Jay on a groundout to first. After Lance Berkman reached in the fourth on a one-out error by Kinsler, who allowed the grounder to second to bounce out of his glove, Lewis retired Matt Holliday on an inning-ending, double-play grounder, with Andrus making a nice backhand flip to second.
Garcia had been 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in his first three post-season starts. Lewis has pitched better on the road than at home this year and was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA, winning at Tampa Bay and losing at Detroit.
A night after a cold, rainy opener, it was slightly warmer, with a game-time temperature of 50 degrees.
Derek Holland goes for the Rangers in Game 4 on Sunday and Edwin Jackson for the Cardinals.
Texas, seeking the first Series title in franchise history, had not lost consecutive games since Aug. 23-25 at Boston and was hoping to avoid a repeat of last year, when the Rangers went to San Francisco and were swept by the Giants 11-7 and 9-0 in the first two games. The Giants went on to win the Series in five games — with the finale also scoreless through six innings.
Teams winning the opener have won seven of the last eight titles, 12 of the last 14 and 19 of the last 23. Of the 52 clubs taking 2-0 Series leads, 41 have gone on to win, including eight straight and 15 of the last 16. The exception was the 1996 Atlanta Braves, who won the first two games at Yankee Stadium and then lost four straight.
Of teams that won Game 2 to even the Series, 29 of 54 have gone on to win — but just two of the last seven, the 2002 Angels and the 2009 Yankees.