World Series: Did Cards win or did Texas lose?
What came first, the chicken or the egg? If a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound? To these timeless conundrums we add this one:
Did the St. Louis Cardinals win Game 6 of the World Series on Thursday or did the Texas Rangers lose it?
Regardless of the answer, the teams will meet again Friday for a decisive Game 7. And what happened in Game 6 will no doubt carry over in both clubhouses.
The Cardinals, who rallied from deficits five times before winning the game on David Freese's two-strike home run leading off the 11th inning, will come to the ballpark riding a massive wave of momentum. Despite making three errors, managing just three hits through the first seven innings, stranding 11 men on base and going 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position, St. Louis won, staving off elimination.
"There's a lot of reasons I'm really pleased," Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa said. "For one thing even though it didn't look good, we competed better than to get bounced out in six [games]. It's been an even series and now it's winner-take-all.
"It's just as exciting as it's supposed to be."
The Rangers, meanwhile, come to the park knowing they were one out -- one strike! -- away from their first World Series title in both the 9th and 10th innings, yet let it get away. And that happened despite the fact they got 15 hits; had go-ahead home runs from Adrian Beltre in the seventh and Josh Hamilton in the 10th; and received a gutsy performance from catcher Mike Napoli, who reached base five times and picked the go-ahead run off third base in the sixth inning while playing with a severely turned ankle.
Napoli had the World Series MVP sewn up if the Rangers had won. Now it's an open debate again.
But Texas also burned through its bullpen, using eight pitchers, which could leave them shorthanded in Game 7. Left-hander Matt Harrison is scheduled to start and he hasn't lasted longer than five innings in three postseason starts.
"We battled," Texas Manager Ron Washington said. "It's not that easy to win a world championship, as we found out tonight. We had the right people in the right spot and they beat us.
"We've been in tough situations before. We've always responded. I expect us to respond [Friday]."
-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from St. Louis
Photo: Yadier Molina reacts after drawing a walk to push Lance Berkman home for the tying run during Game 6 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday. Credit: Steve Nagy / MCT.