ST LOUIS (Reuters) - The St. Louis Cardinals completed their magical comeback season by beating the Texas Rangers 6-2 in a deciding Game Seven to clinch the World Series on Friday.
After left-fielder Allen Craig caught David Murphy’s fly for the final out, the Cards rushed into the infield to celebrate a season in which they overcame a 10 1/2 game deficit in the last month to reach the playoffs and fought back twice in the postseason for their 11th Major League Baseball crown.
Confetti filled the chilly night air as the raucous, white-towel waving crowd at Busch Stadium roared in delight and fireworks lit the sky.
“There’s just one way to describe it — it’s unbelievable, amazing, incredible,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said in a ceremony in the middle of the diamond.
The World Series Most Valuable Player award went to hometown hero David Freese, whose two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth sent Game Six into extra innings before his 11th-inning home run won it for the Cardinals.
Freese, who also won MVP honours in the National League Championship Series against Milwaukee, drove in two runs on Friday and finished the Fall Classic with seven runs batted in.
“This is definitely a dream come true,” the 28-year-old third baseman said after being awarded the trophy and a new sports car. “This is incredible.”
The Cardinals rallied one last time in their season of heart-stopping comebacks by spotting the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first inning before surging to victory.
After back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young in the first off St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter, the Cards immediately tied the game in their half of the first on a two-run double by Game Six hero Freese.
A solo home run by Craig in the third inning gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead before Texas pitching unravelled in the fifth.
St. Louis tacked on two more runs in the fifth without a hit as relievers Scott Feldman and C.J. Wilson combined to walk three, one intentionally, and hit two batters as the Cardinals padded their lead to 5-2.
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, pitching on a short rest period, went six innings for the series-clinching win, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out five.