The power-hitting Texas Rangers resorted to small-ball at its finest, using just two singles to score two runs in the ninth inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 and tie the World Series 1-1.
A bloop single by Ian Kinsler, a stolen base, a single to center by Elvis Andrus and his advance to second on a muffed relay throw set the stage for the runs to score on sacrifice flies from Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.
The principals later provided an inside look at the anatomy of Thursday's game-winning rally in the heat of the World Series.
Kinsler had a good at bat and ended up dropping one in, and (reliever Jason) Motte is not very quick to the plate, said Texas manager Ron Washington, who admitted he was loathe to test the strong arm of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
The only way we'll have an opportunity to steal a bag is if the pitcher gives us that opportunity, and tonight Motte gave us that opportunity, he said.
We exposed it and took advantage.
Kinsler just beat the bullet throw from Molina.
My hand just barely got in there. It took everything I had, he said. Yadier made an unbelievable throw, quick, on the money, and I was just able to get my hand in there.
Andrus followed with a single to center.
With centerfielder Jon Jay charging the ball, the Texas third base coach held up Andrus as first baseman Albert Pujols moved toward the center of the diamond to cut off the throw.
Pujols failed to snare the throw and as it bound away from him, Andrus dashed to second, a key move in the winning rally. After a later review of the play, Pujols was given an error.
With men on second and third and none out, slugger Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate, mired in a deep slump and struggling through injuries.
The biggest thing in that situation is not to try to do too much, Hamilton said. I faced him (reliever Arthur Rhodes) last night. He kept throwing me heaters up, heaters in.
I was actually sitting first-pitch slider and just reacted, and that's a good thing sometimes, just reacting instead of trying to make it happen, said Hamilton, whose deep fly ball to right scored Kinsler to tie it.
Andrus sprinted to third on the play. Michael Young then stroked a fly to center to score Andrus for the winning run.
Shortstop Andrus was also praised for a remarkable, run-saving defensive play he made in the fifth, when dove to his left to field a shot hit by Rafael Furcal with men on first and second and flipped the ball from his glove to second baseman Kinsler on the run for a force out at second.
The play was ridiculous. It was probably one of the best I've seen, said Kinsler. Glove flip was right on the money. It doesn't get any better than that.
Manager Washington was relieved.
We needed to get one here. And I think tonight was one of those great ballgames that you will continue to see against the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, the manager said.
That's what you're in for, so I've got to say those of you that have bad hearts, watch yourself.