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Down to the Cardinals‘ final strike in Game 6, Freese delivered a tying two-run triple in the ninth inning Thursday night. Freese then did one better: a leadoff homer in the 11th that gave St. Louis a dramatic victory and forced the first Game 7 since 2002.

“You’re Game 6 performance, David, will turn out to be one for the ages,” Selig said in announcing the MVP award. “I’m sure this is a dream come true for a St. Louis native.”

Often overlooked in a lineup that features Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, Freese left his own impression on baseball’s grandest stage out of necessity.

Holliday struggled most of the series before spraining his right wrist during Game 6, taking him off the roster Friday. Pujols was intentionally walked whenever he was a threat.

Freese made the Rangers pay for thinking he was an easy out.

“I said earlier, I don’t have a word yet to describe David Freese,” Pujols said. “Humble guy, I liked him right away, as soon as we got him. To be able to go through the things he’s done in his career, just shows who David Freese is.”

In the World Series opener, with the game tied in the sixth inning, Freese delivered a timely double. He alertly moved to third base on a wild pitch, allowing him to score easily for the eventual winning run on Allen Craig’s single to right field.

Freese scored the Cardinals‘ only run in a 2-1 loss in Game 2, and then drove in a pair of runs in a 16-7 victory in Game 3 _ a performance that will be forever overshadowed by Pujols‘ three homers.

Nobody could overshadow Freese in Game 6.

After committing a critical error when an easy popup bounced out of his glove, Freese more than made up for it with his bat. Down to his final strike, his two-run triple in the ninth forced extra innings, and he joined Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Kirby Puckett and Joe Carter as the only players to hit a game-ending homer in Game 6 or later of a Fall Classic.

That’s pretty select company.

Much like the company he’ll enjoy as MVP of the World Series.

“I’ve had plenty of days in my life where I’d thought, you know, I wouldn’t even be close to being a big leaguer,” Freese said. “I’m here because of everyone around me. They put so much trust in me to accomplish, not just baseball, but stuff in life. To do this, I’m just full of joy.”