There they stood on the mound, two outs to go in the ninth inning, the pitcher pleading his case as the crowd chanted his name.
In a title matchup that’s getting more interesting with every game, Holland put the emphasis back on pitching. Given a pep talk by Washington minutes before the game, Holland threw two-hit ball for 8 1-3 innings to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 on Sunday night and even things at 2-all.
Holland struck out seven, walked two and never was in trouble against a team that erupted for 16 runs the previous night. He came within two outs of pitching the first complete-game shutout in the World Series since Josh Beckett’s gem for Florida to clinch the 2003 title at Yankee Stadium.
“I was very focused. I knew this was a big game for us,” said Holland, who was 16-5 with 3.95 ERA and four shutouts in the regular season. “I had to step up and make sure I was prepared.”
Hobbled Josh Hamilton put Texas ahead with an RBI double in the first inning. Then Mike Napoli broke it open with a three-run homer in the sixth that set off a hearty high-five in the front row between team president Nolan Ryan and former President George W. Bush.
And just like that, for the first time since 2003, the World Series stood at two games apiece. Now the whole season is down to a best of three, with the outcome to be decided back at Busch Stadium.
A day after Pujols produced arguably the greatest hitting show in postseason history, tying Series records with three home runs, six RBIs and five hits during the Cardinals‘ romp, Holland emerged as the unlikely star.
“I was begging to stay out there,” Holland said. “I said, ‘I’ll give it everything I’ve got. I can get the double play.’
“When I came off the field my arm hair was sticking up — not like I have much.”View Entire Story
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