This time, they hope the juice gets flowing again before it’s too late.
The big hitters in the Rangers‘ potent lineup fizzled in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Baffled by Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals‘ reliable bullpen, Texas managed to eek out its only runs on Mike Napoli’s homer in a 3-2 loss on a clear, blustery night at Busch Stadium.
Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler each hit 32 homers in the regular season, and both had a hard time getting the ball out of the infield against St. Louis. Hamilton pounded out 25 homers this year but was 0 for 4 with a strikeout, while Cruz was limited to a harmless single and a walk.
His night may have been the most perplexing for Rangers skipper Ron Washington.
The MVP of the AL championship series, Cruz pounded out six homers and drove in 13 runs in a historic win over Detroit. Both totals were the most by any player in any postseason series, and Cruz’s 21 extra-base hits through his first 26 playoff games surpassed Yankees great Lou Gehrig (18) for the most of any player in baseball history.
Cruz came into the game toting the second-best slugging percentage in postseason history, the most postseason homers over a two-year span, and with the memories of his game-winning grand slam against the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS still fresh in his mind.
The Cardinals were having none of it.
Just as the Giants last year.
Led by two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, San Francisco’s pitching staff shut down the Texas offense in a World Series wipeout. The Rangers batted .190 for the series, Cruz and Hamilton went a combined 6 for 40, and San Francisco had things neatly wrapped up in just five games.
Washington said earlier in the week that he was confident last year’s World Series flop was in the past, and it looked like it early on against St. Louis.
Kinsler hit a hard single his first time up, Beltre doubled off third baseman David Freese in the second inning, and Napoli connected off Carpenter in the fifth inning for a tying two-run shot that Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman didn’t even bother giving chase.
Hamilton flied out to end the inning and slumped as he headed back to the dugout, his chin dropped to his chest _ almost as if he was resigned to defeat.