More offense expected as World Series shifts to Texas
ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols launched a 94-mile-per-hour fastball to deep right field, tracking the ball closely as he left the batter's box, his eyes not even blinking as he ran toward first base.
When his eighth-inning shot fell into the glove of Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz near the top of the fence, a few feet from the 375-foot sign, Pujols forcefully clapped his hands together in disappointment, knowing the Cardinals could have used the insurance run.
Instead of extending St. Louis' lead from 1-0 to 2-0 with three outs separating the Cardinals from a two-game edge in the World Series, the Rangers rallied in the ninth, scoring two runs on two singles, a stolen base, a runner advancing on an error by Pujols and two sacrifice flies, a bit of millwork manufacturing from a club used to assembling bigger numbers on the scoreboard.
The Rangers thus tied the Series at 1-1, as both teams relocate south to Texas for three games that may barely resemble the low-scoring, tightly-played baseball we've seen thus far. Pujols' ball, for example, if it had been hit in Arlington rather than St. Louis, had a strong chance of leaving the yard.
There's been a paucity of runs, just eight in total. That's an average of four
• First World Series game in which the game-tying and go-ahead runs were both scored on sacrifice flies.
• Fourth World Series inning with two sacrifice flies
• First homerless World Series game since 2007's Game 2.
Don't expect such low-scoring to persist. Like a fire that only ignites and spreads under the right conditions, the below factors are all conducive to these lineups exploding.
Consider the four major changes that will affect play in Games 3, 4 and 5:
Of course, both offenses could just be sleeping giants ready to awaken anyway. The Cardinals led the NL in runs scored with 762 this season, and the Rangers ranked third in the AL with 855, with 58.2 percent of their runs and 60.0 percent of their homers coming in Texas.
"We both have good offensive teams," Craig said, "so I know we're looking forward to getting down there and hopefully breaking out with the bats and scoring some more runs."
At Busch we had two straight games clawed out in the late innings, the 11th and 12th one-run games of the postseason -- matching the most such games in history -- but this was the first with a lead change in the ninth inning. And, given how little scoring there's been, it was the first lead change of the World Series.
With a lot more offense expected in the next few games -- everything is, after all, bigger in Texas -- that likely won't last.