- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2011

ST. LOUIS — Down to their last three outs and facing another serious World Series deficit, the Texas Rangers did some rallying of their own.

Lost at the plate, Josh Hamilton and the Texas hitters suddenly found their strokes. They scraped together two runs in the ninth inning against the vaunted St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen and escaped with a 2-1 win Thursday night that evened the Series at 1-all.

“It wasn’t a Series-saving rally, but it was huge,” said Ian Kinsler, whose single and safe-by-inches steal set up the comeback.

Hamilton and Michael Young did their jobs, hitting consecutive sacrifice flies that completed the comeback.

A year after they dropped the first two games at San Francisco and got wiped out in the World Series, the Rangers kept things interesting — for themselves, and for baseball fans all over yearning for some October drama.

“It was almost a great story for us, turned out to be a greater one for them,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

Now, after a travel day, Texas will host Game 3 on Saturday night. Matt Harrison is set to start for the Rangers against Kyle Lohse.

“It would have been hard,” Hamilton said of possibly facing being 0-2. “We would have been comfortable going back to our place, having three games. They’re just like we are, never say die, till the last out is made. It makes it fun.”

Up until the ninth, Hamilton and the Texas boppers were in serious danger. They chased pitches that bounced, broke their bats and seemed totally overmatched.

In a city excited by a Rally Squirrel, it was Groundhog Day — almost.

For the second straight night, Cardinals pinch-hitter Allen Craig greeted reliever Alexi Ogando with a go-ahead single. This time, Craig did it the seventh. In Game 1, his hit in the sixth sent the Cards to a 3-2 win.

The Rangers have not lost two straight games since Aug. 23-25. They sure waited a while to save themselves on this night that began as duel between starters Colby Lewis and the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia. Texas gained a split in St. Louis despite hitting a combined .186.

Kinsler opened the ninth with a bloop single against closer Jason Motte. Next up was Elvis Andrus, whose tremendous play at shortstop kept the game scoreless much earlier. Kinsler, though, wasn’t about to wait — he stole second, sliding in just ahead of three-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina’s excellent throw.

“My hand just barely got in there,” Kinsler said. “It took everything I had.”

Andrus followed with a single to center, sending Kinsler to third. And when the throw from center fielder Jon Jay eluded first baseman Albert Pujols, went to catcher Yadier Molina, and Andrus scampered to second.

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