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ARTHUR GETS HIS CHANCE: After 20 years in the majors and 900 appearances on the mound, Arthur Rhodes finally got his first chance to pitch in the World Series.

He did his job, too. Brought in to face left-handed slugger Josh Hamilton, Rhodes retired last year’s AL MVP on a lazy fly to center for the final out of the eighth inning, keeping the Cardinals ahead by a run. St. Louis hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 1.

What a wild journey it was for Rhodes.

The 41-year-old lefty signed a $4.1 million, one-year contract before the season with the Rangers, of all teams. But they released him on Aug. 8 and he signed with St. Louis three days later.

Texas remained responsible for almost all of his salary this year. So the Rangers really paid for that out _ in more ways than one.

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ON THE MOUND: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa played the numbers for Game 2, carefully examining home and road statistics before choosing Jaime Garcia as his starting pitcher.

The decision puts Garcia in line to return for Game 6 at Busch Stadium. He went 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA during the regular season in 15 starts at Busch and was just 4-3 with a 4.61 ERA on the road.

“You don’t have a lot of information with a guy like Jaime, who’s in his second year. The one thing you do have is he’s pitched well at home, so you go with that,” La Russa said. “When you’re trying to find an edge, that’s one of the angles you play.”

Garcia is 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in three postseason starts. He lost 3-2 at home against Philadelphia in Game 3 of the division series and 9-6 at Milwaukee in the NL championship series opener. Garcia didn’t get a decision in Game 5, allowing one run in 4 2-3 innings as the Cardinals won 7-1.

Colby Lewis will pitch Game 2 for Texas. He started Game 3 in the first round of the AL playoffs at Tampa Bay and at Detroit in the ALCS, beating the Rays 4-3 and losing to the Tigers 5-2.

He was 5-5 with a 5.54 ERA at home this season and 9-5 with a 3.43 ERA on the road. Last year, he was 6-4 with a 3.41 ERA at home and 6-9 with a 3.95 ERA away.

“Just a new year. Things are different,” Lewis said.

Unlike his counterpart, Rangers manager Ron Washington said he didn’t pay attention to stats.

“It just was coincidence,” he said. “It’s not anything I look at because at this point I trust every one of my guys.”

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