Albert Pujols put on an offensive show in Game 3 of the World Series with three massive homeruns, tying a record held by Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. Pujols drove in a mind-bending six runs with five hits in the Cardinals’ 16-7 dismantling of the Texas Rangers in Arlington Saturday night.
A crucial missed call in the fourth inning opened the floodgates for the Cardinals, allowing them to score four in the inning and carry the momentum forward from that point through the end of the game. The Rangers battled valiantly, putting up three runs in the bottom of the fourth and the fifth to combat the Cardinals strikes, but in the end were unable to overcome the St. Louis powerhouse in a stadium that favors the long ball.
Pujols was not the only St. Louis player with a great night at the plate. David Freese and Yadier Molina each had multiple RBI nights, with Freese driving in two runs off two hits and Molina plating four with two hits as well. Texas pitchers allowed six walks and 15 hits in the contest. The Texas defense also committed four errors.
The most obvious example of the way the night was going for the Rangers came in the top of the fourth with Pujols on first when Matt Holiday hit a chopper to the shortstop, a ball that should have been an easy double play for the Rangers. After getting the out at second, an errant throw drew Mike Napoli off the bag at first, although he was able to catch the ball in the air and apply the tag on Holiday before he reached the bag. The umpire, however, called Holiday safe, allowing the inning to continue with a runner on first and only one out when clearly there should have been no one on, two outs.
Lance Berkman followed with a single to move Holiday to second, and one at bat later, Holiday was driven in by a David Freese double down the right field line. Things went from bad to worse when a throwing error by Napoli allowed two runs to score, giving St. Louis the advantage 5-0. This lead was enough for the Cardinals to hold off the Rangers for the rest of the game, even as the Rangers made it interesting in the bottom of that inning, scoring three runs off a Michael Young solo shot on a Kyle Lohse cut fastball that leaked into the zone and a Nelson Cruz two run opposite field homerun.
Both bullpens were put to the test, with the Cardinals using four pitchers in relief, while the Rangers used five. Lance Lynn got the win for the Cardinals, coming in at a crucial time and getting big outs for St. Louis, allowing them to preserve their lead when the Rangers threatened to sneak back into the game. The starter for the Rangers, Matt Harrison, took the loss as he gave up five runs off six hits in only 3.2 innings pitched. Harrison showed good velocity and control, only giving up one walk, but the winds of fortune were with the Cardinals, as bad calls and costly errors cut Harrison’s time on the mound short.
Pujols Makes History
Albert Pujols showed everyone what playoff baseball is all about in Saturday night’s outing. Not only did he take his place in the history books next to Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only three players in history to have three homeruns in a World Series game, but he also became the first player in history to have a hit in four consecutive World Series game innings. Pujols was 0-6 coming into Game 3, but with his five hits on Saturday, he raised his World Series average to .455.
Game 4 will be played Sunday night with Derek Holland pitching for the Rangers and Edwin Jackson starting for the Cardinals. It is important to note that 36 of 54 teams that won Game 3 to take a 2-1 Series lead have gone on to the title, a fact that will have Cardinal fans on the edge of their seats come Sunday.