Cardinals melt down in ninth, Rangers even series

ST. LOUIS — Josh Hamilton and the Texas hitters looked lost. They chased pitches that bounced, broke their bats and seemed totally overmatched.

Until the ninth inning, that is.

Down to their last three outs, and in danger of dropping into a serious World Series deficit, the Rangers rallied against St. Louis' vaunted bullpen.

Hamilton and Michael Young lifted sacrifice flies in the ninth and Texas startled the Cardinals 2-1 on Thursday night to even the Series at 1-all.

"It wasn't a Series-saving rally, but it was huge," said Ian Kinsler, whose single and steal set up the comeback.

In a city excited by a Rally Squirrel, it was Groundhog Day — almost.

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.

Said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: "It was almost a great story for us, turned out to be a greater one for them."

Now, after a travel day, Texas will host Game 3 on Saturday night. Matt Harrison is set to start for the Rangers against Kyle Lohse.

"It would have been hard," Hamilton said of possibly facing being 0-2. "We would have been comfortable going back to our place, having three games. They're just like we are, never say die, til the last out is made. It makes it fun."

Texas has not lost two straight games since Aug. 23-25. They sure waited a while to save themselves on this night that began as duel between starters Colby Lewis and the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia.

Kinsler opened the ninth with a bloop single against closer Jason Motte. Next up was Elvis Andrus, whose tremendous play at shortstop kept the game scoreless much earlier. Kinsler, though, wasn't about to wait — he stole second, sliding in just ahead of Yadier Molina's excellent throw.

Andrus followed with a single to center, sending Kinsler to third. And when the relay throw got away for a moment, Andrus scampered to second.

La Russa, who's been making all the right moves this October, brought in lefty Arthur Rhodes to face Hamilton. But the slumping slugger, slowed throughout the postseason by a groin injury, hit a solid fly ball that scored Kinsler and moved Andrus to third.

La Russa went to his bullpen again, bringing in Lance Lynn to face Young. The steady Texas veteran did his job, lofting a fly ball that sent Andrus scampering home.

Then it was Rangers manager Ron Washington's turn. He signaled for closer Neftali Feliz, who worked around a leadoff walk to earn the save. Mike Adams got the win.

The Cardinals broke through against Lewis in the seventh when David Freese singled with one out and took third on Nick Punto's two-out single. La Russa pulled Garcia and put up Craig, who was injured for most of the season.

Washington then went to Ogando. After a first-pitch foul, Craig lined a 96 mph heater for a single to score the go-ahead run.

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