World Series: Taking a Freese frame of Cardinals' comeback
Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday.
But David Freese wouldn't normally be part of that list.
In 184 regular-season games, Freese has hit 15 home runs. He has five in 17 games this postseason.
In 604 regular-season at-bats, he has two triples. He got another Thursday when, down to his last strike, he tripled in two runs off Texas Ranger closer in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extra innings. The Cardinals rallied from another two-run deficit in the 10th before winning Game 6 of the World Series in the 11th, 10-9, on Freese's leadoff home run, setting up a decisive Game 7 on Friday.
But it was Freese's at-bat against the hard-throwing Feliz that saved St. Louis' season -- for a night at least. And it was one in which he made some key adjustments.
"I just told myself stay short," he said. "He started me off with some off-speed so I was like 'now what's coming?' I just said 'heater'; that's what I hit. I just looked for something out over [the plate] and swung through a heater."
Freese looked so overmatched on that pitch that Feliz threw it again. Only this time the result was different with the Cardinal third baseman lining it into the right-field corner where Ranger outfielder Nelson Cruz appeared to have a play on it before jumping early and awkwardly, allowing the ball to carom off the padded wall for a game-tying triple.
"Kind of got the same pitch and didn't miss," Freese agreed.
But while Freese was clearly looking for something to drive with St. Louis an out away from elimination in the ninth inning, his approach was different leading off the 11th in a tie game.
"Just worked the count," said Freese, who hit a full-count pitch from Mark Lowe on to the grass berm beyond the center-field wall. "I was worried about getting on base leading off an inning. Taking a walk, broken-bat single. Whatever.
"I knew he had a good changeup so I kind of had that in the back of my head. He shook to the changeup and I got the [bat] head out."
The home run, by the way, gave Freese 12 runs scored and 19 runs batted in 17 postseason games, raising his OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) to 1.235. If he managed to do that over a full season, it would be the 15th-best mark in history.
-- Kevin Baxter in St. Louis
Photo: The St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese celebrates after hitting the game-winning solo home run in Game 6 of the World Series. Credit: Steve Nagy / MCT.