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That was it for Feldman, whose forgettable line in Game 7 amounted to three walks and a hit by pitch in two-thirds of an inning.

Wilson, who took the loss for Texas in Game 1, emerged on three days’ rest to bail him out, but his first pitch plunked Furcal in the hip, giving St. Louis a 5-2 lead. The Cardinals added another run in the seventh against the bullpen, and it turned out to be more than they needed.

The Rangers‘ meltdown wasn’t nearly as startling as the previous night, when a collection of relievers was responsible for one of the most dramatic finishes in baseball history.

The Rangers had three blown saves in the 10-9 loss in 11 innings.

Down to his final strike, Freese connected off All-Star closer Neftali Feliz for a two-run triple that sent the game to extra innings. Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the 10th, but St. Louis matched it with two runs off Darren Oliver in the bottom of the inning.

Freese finally ended it with his game-winning homer off Mark Lowe in the 11th.

“We thought we had that game,” first baseman Michael Young said. “We had good pitchers on the mound, but the Cardinals found a way to execute.”

It was the first time in postseason history that a team allowed runs in the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th innings of a game _ and just the third time in the past 25 years overall.

The result was a sobering atmosphere in the clubhouse Friday night.

“I just told them they’re champions, which I believe,” Washington said. “Someone has to win, someone has to lose and the Cardinals did it. … They were the better team.”