- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - A wild throw home. A close play at the plate. The missed call at first base.

Mike Napoli was in the middle of almost everything that went wrong in the fourth inning for the Texas Rangers in a 16-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.

Playing first base for the first time in this World Series, Napoli made a rushed throw home in the fourth that sailed past catcher Yorvit Torrealba for an error that allowed two runs to score by the Cardinals in Game 3.

“I just yanked it,” Napoli said. “Got a groundball we needed and didn’t make the play.”

The Cardinals‘ four-run outburst in the fourth began when second baseman Ian Kinsler made a wide throw to first to finish what should’ve been a double play. Napoli reached wide to his left to snag the ball, then with a sweeping motion tagged the approaching runner squarely on the shoulder.

Almost as quickly, Napoli was holding his glove up in front of first base umpire Ron Kulpa in utter disbelief after Matt Holliday was ruled safe.

“Call him safe, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Napoli said. “We had a chance to minimize the inning and we let it snowball a little bit.”

After the game, Kulpa acknowledged he missed the call.

“At the time of the play, I had him on the base at the time of his tag,” Kulpa said. “I saw a replay when I walked off the field, and the tag was applied before his foot hit the bag.”

The Rangers lost because of more than the blown call and Napoli’s error. There were other fielding blunders, and all six Texas pitchers allowed runs.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus had a fielding error that led to an unearned run in the sixth when the Cards scored four more runs _ the third of four innings in a row they scored multiple runs.

And while Kinsler’s throw to Napoli wasn’t officially an error, there would have been no need for a swiping tag if the throw had been on target. Kinsler had an earlier fielding error that didn’t cost the Rangers.

Among the pitchers allowing runs were the former starters who have been so reliable out of the bullpen this postseason. Scott Feldman had pitched 10 1-3 scoreless innings in the playoffs before allowing three runs in 1 1-3 inning while Alexi Ogando gave up four runs while getting only one out. Ogando had allowed only one run in 11 innings over nine playoff appearances.

Still, a lot happened in that fourth inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Rangers got three runs in a span of five pitches when Michael Young homered, Adrian Beltre singled and Nelson Cruz hit his seventh homer of the postseason. Napoli followed with a single, but the inning ended when he was thrown out at home trying to score on Kinsler’s flyball to left.

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