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Texas trudged off the field as Freese circled the bases after connecting off Lowe, having been so close to that elusive title. Much earlier, team president Nolan Ryan was high-fiving friends in the stands as Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz opened the seventh with home runs that helped Texas take a 7-4 lead.

Allen Craig’s solo homer in the eighth began the Cardinals‘ comeback. Jake Westbrook wound up with the win.

Hardly the ending anyone imagined in a game that started out with a bevy of errors and bobbles — none more surprising than the routine popup that Freese simply dropped at third base.

“I’m just glad I had a chance after I looked like an idiot on that popup,” Freese said.

The Cardinals made it 4-all in the sixth when Alexi Ogando relieved starter Colby Lewis and walked Yadier Molina with the bases loaded.

Then came a key play — Napoli and Beltre teamed up to pick off Matt Holliday at third with the bases loaded.

With one out, Napoli zipped a throw to Beltre, who neatly used his cleat to block the diving Holliday from reaching the base. That also ended Holliday’s night with a severely bruised right pinkie.

Texas wasn’t quite out of trouble as Nick Punto walked to reload the bases. But Derek Holland, the star of Game 4 with shutout ball into the ninth inning, trotted in from the bullpen and retired Jon Jay on a comebacker.

The Rangers looked loose as they took the field for pregame warmups. Cruz playfully kicked a couple of Cardinals gloves strewn on the grass, and smiled at his St. Louis pals.

Once they started, however, both Texas and St. Louis seemed tense, as if they were trying too hard with so much at stake. Either that, or they looked like they were playing in the sloppy weather that forced Wednesday night’s postponement.

Exacerbated by the errors, the teams seesawed through the early innings.

Texas did more damage in three batters against Jaime Garcia than it did in seven scoreless innings against him in Game 2, with Hamilton hitting an RBI single in the first.

St. Louis came out swinging at first pitches, and Berkman’s two-run homer into the center field bleachers made it 2-1 in the bottom half. Ian Kinsler tied it in the Texas second with an RBI double. Garcia was pulled after the third in his shortest outing since June 2010.

Shaky in the field all year, St. Louis made two errors in a span of four batters in the fourth behind reliever Fernando Salas, equaling its mistake total for the Series.

Holliday failed to take charge on an easy fly ball by Cruz and dropped it for a two-base error. Napoli followed with an opposite-field single to right that hit the chalk line for his 10th RBI of the Series. Salas then sailed Lewis’ bunt into center and Napoli turned his left ankle as he went leg into the bag on the play. Napoli was checked, and was OK.

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