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Game 5: Wilson out, Cards lead 2-1 in 6th inning

- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2011

C.J. Wilson was in trouble in the fifth before retiring cleanup batter Matt Holliday in a key situation for the second time in the game.

Wilson intentionally walked Albert Pujols again, loading the bases with two outs. Holliday grounded out on a 3-2 pitch, keeping the score 2-1 Cardinals.

After an intentional walk to Pujols in the third put runners at the corners, Holliday grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Wilson was a little erratic, throwing 100 pitches through five innings and walking five _ two intentional. But he held it together in some tight spots and kept the Rangers close.

He was lifted for Scott Feldman with one out in the sixth. Feldman struck out Nick Punto with runners at second and third to end the inning.

St. Louis is 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

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With runners at second and third and one out in the fifth, Wilson struck out Allen Craig _ giving Texas a chance to walk Pujols with first base open. Craig is hitless in his last nine at-bats since a first-inning homer in Game 3.

Wilson's curveball has been effective, and he's found a backdoor cutter against right-handed batters, hitting the outside corner a few times. Wilson's cutter might be his best pitch, but that's a tough one to execute _ away to a right-handed hitter.

Usually, cut fastballs break in off the inside corner and bore in on the hands. You've got to be pretty good to command it on both sides. Mariano Rivera, for example, does a great job throwing his cutter to both sides of the plate.

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Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter is going to his big curveball. Adrian Beltre went to his knees swinging at a huge hook, a la Reggie Jackson.

Beltre takes a swing like that every so often. Fox showed footage of him hitting a home run out of Fenway Park when he was with Boston last year on a big cut that dropped him to his knees.

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David Freese lined out to right field for the second out in the fourth. The more you watch Freese hit, the more impressive he is. Tough at-bats, keeps his front side closed, very quick hands, power to the opposite field.

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Mitch Moreland, right on cue.

Fox color man Tim McCarver had just finished saying that Moreland has some serious pop, even though he hadn't shown it this postseason, when Moreland drove a 2-0 pitch from Carpenter into the second deck in right field to cut Texas' deficit to 2-1 in the third inning.

Before that, Moreland was 2 for 23 (.087) in the postseason. He did have 16 homers during the regular season.

Carpenter was mad at himself for not getting the ball down.

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Two walks by Wilson and then some shaky defense hurts the Rangers again.

Wilson walked Holliday and Lance Berkman to start the second inning, also throwing a wild pitch that allowed Holliday to reach second with some aggressive baserunning.

Yadier Molina hit an RBI single and David Murphy bobbled the ball in left field for an error that let Berkman go to third.

That was costly. Skip Schumaker, making his first World Series start, followed with a grounder to first. Moreland might have had a shot to get Berkman at the plate, but he dropped the ball for a moment before stepping on the bag. Berkman scored to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

Murphy made a diving catch on Punto's humpback liner to end the inning, saving another run.

Funny scene: The diminutive Punto brought the bat with him all the way to first base, rounded the bag and began to try to break the bat over his thigh. Then he thought better of it. Might have saved himself some embarrassment on national TV.

Wilson made an error in the third when he bounced a flip toss to first base on Rafael Furcal's bunt single. That was Texas' sixth error in this World Series and 10th in 15 postseason games. Furcal went to second, but Wilson escaped by getting Holliday to ground into an around-the-horn double play.

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Not-so-instant replay.

Game 5 started the same way Game 4 did, with a lineout by Furcal to Beltre at third. Tough start for Furcal on his 34th birthday.

Pujols swings at a 3-0 pitch and flies out to center field to end the first inning. Wilson retired the Cardinals in order.

Besides his record-setting performance in Game 3, Pujols is 0 for 11 in the Series.

Carpenter issues a two-out walk to Josh Hamilton in the first, but that's it. Scoreless after one.

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This is shaping up as the most competitive World Series in nearly a decade.

With the Cardinals and Rangers tied at two games apiece, Carpenter is facing Wilson in a rematch of the opener.

It's the first time the Series has been tied 2-all since 2003, when the Florida Marlins upset the New York Yankees in six games. The last seven-game Series was the year before that, when the Angels beat the Giants.

Carpenter has excelled in October, but Wilson has been a dud. A 16-game winner during the regular season with a 2.94 ERA, the Texas ace is 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in four postseason starts this year.

Those numbers could cost him some serious cash, too, because Wilson can become a free agent next month. This is his last chance to prove to potential suitors that he can thrive under pressure in a big postseason game.

No pitcher has ever lost four times in one postseason, according to STATS LLC.

Wilson walked six and lost to Carpenter 3-2 in Game 1, though the lefty threw the ball better than he had in his previous playoff outings.

The fiery Carpenter is 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts this postseason. The only time he didn't win, he was pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his career.

Carpenter owns eight career postseason wins, tied with Rivera for the most among active pitchers.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made a change to his lineup for Game 5, inserting Schumaker in center field. Schumaker, who is batting eighth, replaced slumping Jon Jay, who is 0 for 14 in the Series.

The scrappy Schumaker, who mostly played second base this season, missed the NL championship series because of a strained muscle on his right side. He has one at-bat in the World Series.

Game 6 is Wednesday night in St. Louis, where some raw weather is expected.

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