Rangers prop up Nolan Ryan’s prediction with win

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Nolan Ryan must have been getting a tad uncomfortable as the innings ticked by Thursday night and the Rangers crept ever closer to a two-game World Series deficit.

The team’s president and chief executive had boldly predicted on a Dallas radio station that Texas would need six games to wrap up the series, but the St. Louis Cardinals had already taken the opener and were leading Game 2 by a run heading into the ninth inning.

That’s when Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus delivered back-to-back singles, and Josh Hamilton and Michael Young followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies. Texas went on to win 2-1.

Rather than needing four straight wins to back up their boss, the Rangers just need three more in four.

“Our offense is such that every night, we can break out and have a big inning like we did against Detroit,” Ryan said before Game 2 at Busch Stadium. “When I looked at St. Louis’ pitching, I don’t look at their pitching like a (Justin) Verlander where you say, ‘Boy, Verlander is on. We’re going to hope that something good has to happen.’

“I’m not downplaying the Cardinals‘ pitching by any means,” Ryan said. “I feel every night that we should score some runs and give our pitchers the opportunity to win some ballgames.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he didn’t feel any added pressure by the prediction coming from the team’s most visible face. But the entire team certainly feels a little more comfortable going back to Texas with the series knotted a game apiece.

Last year, Texas dropped the first two games of the World Series against San Francisco and never managed to recover. The Giants went on to win the series in five games.

“It’s the World Series, last two teams. Every victory is huge,” Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “It was a big win for us. We’re just happy the series is tied up and we’re going back to Texas and in front of our crowd.”

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FREESE TAG: Cardinals third baseman David Freese, the NL championship series MVP, singled in the seventh inning Thursday night and has a 12-game postseason hitting streak that began with Game 2 of the division series.

It’s the longest single-season streak for the franchise and ties Yadier Molina (2006-11) and Mike Matheny (2001-04) for the longest stretch overall. Freese, who hit sixth in the order, is batting .422 (19 for 45) in the postseason with four homers, six doubles and 14 RBIs.

Not bad for a hometown hero.

“It feels good,” Freese said. “Hitting streaks are great as long as those hits help the team, so that’s what I’m going to try to keep doing.”

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