David Freese’s epic World Series walk-off demands a deep rewind | 2011 Cardinals-Rangers Game 6


(intense electronic music) – It’s October 27th, 2011. We’re in St. Louis, Missouri for Game 6 of the World Series between
the Cardinals and Rangers. Texas is up 3 games to 2, and trying to close things out for their 1st ever championship. The game’s tied at 9 with
David Freese leading off the bottom of the 11th
inning, and the count full. You might recall what happens next, but to truly grasp the
power of this moment, you have to understand
what’s enabled the Cards to reach this point. The 11th inning, the
World Series in general, or even October baseball at all, so let’s rewind. (eerie electronic music) St. Louis is somehow still alive, but just an hour ago, the idea they’d have a pulse right
now would’ve been absurd, a level of absurdity
perhaps only surpassed two months ago with the idea of simply qualifying for the playoffs. (soft electronic music) The early part of 2011 was
not so kind to the Cardinals. After picking up the club option for the final season of
Albert Pujols’ contract, their superstar 1st
baseman gave GM John Mozeliak a deadline of spring training to work out an extension. This was a player coming
off a decade-long run in St. Louis that solidified
his place as arguably the greatest right-handed
bat in baseball history. He won NL MVP 3 times, finished 2nd another 4 times, and helped lead them to a world
championship 5 years ago, so even calling him a superstar
might still sell him short, but the two sides couldn’t
work something out, and it created a dark
cloud over their season as it seemed likely to be
his swan song in St. Louis. Then, over the next few months, the injury bug attacked ‘em pretty hard. Just a few days into spring training, it was discovered that Adam Wainwright, their All-Star pitcher who was coming off back-to-back top-3
Cy Young finishes while posting the 2nd-best
ERA in the majors, would need Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the entire season. The day after he homered
in their season opener, All-Star left fielder Matt Holliday underwent an appendectomy. Pujols broke his wrist
a couple months later in a freak accident, though he returned just 17 days later despite
an initial projection that he’d be sidelined 4-6 weeks. Even manager Tony La Russa
had to step away for 6 games to treat a case of shingles, though they still made it
all the way to this point, the 11th inning of the
World Series’ 6th game, with Freese at the plate trying to help in the Cardinals’ pursuit to deliver another championship to St. Louis, which might mean just a
little extra for Freese, a local product who grew up in a suburb of the city, and was a huge Cardinals fan as a kid. He even wore number 45 in Little League to pay homage to legendary
pitcher Bob Gibson, and attended high school about 26 miles away from Busch Stadium. Freese would be drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2006 before getting traded to his hometown team for longtime center fielder Jim Edmonds in December 2007, then eventually became their everyday 3rd baseman in 2010 until he hurt his ankle in June before an August setback ended his season. Then, this season, while
dealing with issues to huge established names like Holliday, Wainwright, Pujols, La Russa, an injury to the
lesser-known Freese also had a tremendous impact. After an outstanding
1st month of his season, batting .365, the 3rd
baseman broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch
in Atlanta on May 1st. That cost him nearly 2 months, and the Cardinals had a losing
record during his absence, but they still wound up tied with the Brewers atop the NL Central at the All-Star Break thanks to last offseason’s signing of longtime division rival Lance Berkman, who was the league’s best hitter during the 1st half of the season. In early August, about a month after returning from the hand injury, Freese got drilled with another pitch, this time, in the head, again costing him time, but he’d return from all
that to wind up here, and the pitcher he’s facing
right now is Mark Lowe, a Houston native who’s
got his own local ties to his team, having gone to college just a couple miles from
the Rangers’ ballpark. He’s also had his own up and down year in his first full season as a Ranger after a trade that sent him and Cliff Lee to Texas last year. He struggled over the first
few months of this season, even getting optioned to the
minors for a bit in April. Lowe got it together a
little bit down the stretch, though a hamstring injury kept him off the Rangers roster for the first couple
rounds of the playoffs. He obviously made the World Series roster, but has only pitched 1 inning so far, which was during Game 3, 5 days ago, in which he faced Freese
and allowed a hit. Lowe being in such a
high-leverage situation right now might be surprising, but the
Rangers being here is not. They’re the defending AL champs, having made last year’s World Series before falling to the Giants in 5. Although they lost some key pieces from that pennant-winning
squad like Cliff Lee and Vlad Guerrero, they
signed stand out 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre, shifting Mike Young to DH, and also fleeced the Blue Jays in a trade for Mike Napoli. While those two acquisitions
have arguably been Texas’s two best bats this season, Young was not pleased
with his shifted role, and demanded a trade,
but nothing materialized, so his disgruntled ass remained while playing excellently
for the 9th year in a row. Combined with 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler, right fielder Nelson Cruz, and
reigning MVP Josh Hamilton, the Rangers have a lethal offense. They were atop the AL West every day for the final 4-and-a-half
months of the season, en route to a franchise record 96 wins, but that wasn’t enough to get homefield
advantage in this series. No amount of wins would’ve been because, in Bud Selig’s world, something as trivial as who
gets an inherent advantage in the World Series
shouldn’t be determined by something like, you know, merit, but rather which league
won the All-Star Game. This year, that was the National League, thanks in no small part to this back-breaking 3-run homer that losing pitcher C.J. Wilson, the ace of those Rangers, surrendered to Prince Fielder. So that’s why we’re here in
St. Louis instead of Arlington, but truth be told, 2 months ago, no one thought there was a chance in hell the Cardinals would’ve crashed
the postseason party at all, let alone advancing all
the way to this point, the 11th inning of Game 6
of the Fall Classic. (soft electronic music) In addition to all the
Cardinals’ injuries, their bullpen was a
mess early in the year. Closer Ryan Franklin blew four saves by mid-April before being demoted out of that role and eventually cut. They cycled through a few other guys that couldn’t get it done
before things steadied once they settled on Fernando Salas, then made a July trade that brought in starting
pitcher Edwin Jackson and relievers Marc
Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel. However, it didn’t look
like any of it would matter. That’s because they woke up on August 28th with a 69-64 record, trailing the Brewers
by 10.5 games in the NL Central and the Braves by 10 games for the Wild Card spot. But they got extremely
hot, made another change at closer, installing Jason Motte after more than 2 months without allowing an earned run, and wound up winning 17
of their next 22 games, including 5 out of
6 against the Brewers. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough to take the division from Milwaukee, so for St. Louis, it was Wild Card or bust. Fortunately, the Braves totally forgot how to baseball down the stretch. In that same period,
they lost 14 of 23 games, providing the Cards a glimmer of hope, but Atlanta was working
from such a cushion, they still had a 3-game lead with just 5 games left
on each team’s schedule. The Cards won 3 of their next 4. The Braves lost 4 of their next 4, and they pulled dead
even with 1 game left. The Cardinals sent ace and
former Cy Young-winning pitcher Chris Carpenter to the mound for that one, and he tossed a complete
game 2-hit shutout while fanning 11 in Houston, possibly the greatest game in the 36-year-old’s illustrious career. Then they played the waiting game to see what would happen in Atlanta, where the game reached extra innings before Braves pitcher Scott Linebrink, the very same dude who broke Freese’s hand with an errant fastball
5 months earlier, allowed this little baby
infield single to Hunter Pence, miraculously sending the Cardinals to the playoffs as the NL Wild Card. Entering September, the only way St. Louis could’ve made the playoffs was to be the league’s very
best team that month, combined with Atlanta being
the league’s very worst, and that’s exactly what happened. Their reward was an NLDS
date with the Phillies and a rotation featuring three of the NL’s top-6 pitchers, but the Cardinals ultimately forced a winner-take-all game back in Philly. It was a showdown between Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter, best friends from years spent together in Toronto, guys that have vacation plans together in a couple weeks to go fishing
in the Amazon rainforest. They put on an amazing pitching dual, and Skip Schumaker’s RBI double in the 1st inning was all the Cards could muster against Halladay, but that was enough, with Carpenter tossing his
2nd complete-game shutout in 10 days, and propelling St. Louis to the NLCS with a 1-0 win. There, they faced the Brewers, and led by series MVP David Freese, St. Louis took care of Milwaukee in 6 games to win the pennant and end up here, tied in extras of the World Series, but while the Cardinals’
journey was filled with obstacles that they overcame, Texas had a much smoother
ride to this point. They knocked off Tampa in the ALDS in 4 to advance and face
the Tigers in the ALCS. They rode the historically red hot bat of Nelson Cruz to a 6-game win, setting up a World Series
clash with the Cards. The teams split the first
2 games in St. Louis. In Game 1, Allen Craig drove in what turned out to be the winning run when Cruz couldn’t make this play in right before Texas evened it up when the normally untouchable Motte couldn’t close out the game the next day. The series shifted to
Texas for Game 3, but the Cardinals absolutely
exploded for 16 runs, led by Pujols, who had 5 hits, 3 of which could not be contained by the field dimensions of the Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington. – [Commentator] How
about 3 on the night? – They took a 2-1 series lead behind his World Series
record 14 total bases, but the Cardinals apparently only packed enough offense for 1 game, and combined for just 2 runs across Games 4 and 5, dropping both to head back to Missouri, down 3-2 and on
the brink of elimination. After MLB decided to
push Game 6 back a day due to the mere threat of rain, when it was finally time to play, La Russa gave the ball to Jaime Garcia while Colby Lewis got the nod
for Ron Washinton’s Rangers. With Freese standing here now after 10.5 thrilling
back-and-forth innings with a chance to do something heroic, it was actually a crucial mistake of his that helped set this table. With the score tied at three, Josh Hamilton popped up the 1st pitch of the 5th inning, a routine play that big-leaguers make in their sleep, but Mr. Freese did not, and as a result of his error allowing
Hamilton to reach base, the Rangers took the lead when he got a ride home from Young. St. Louis pulled even
when Yadier Molida drew a bases-loaded walk in the 6th, but then things started slipping
away from the Cardinals. Instead of scoring
again to seize the lead, as one might expect with the bases juiced and less than 2 out, Napoli instead caught
Holliday sleeping at 3rd and picked him off, letting Texas off the hook, and knocking Holliday out
of the game in the process when he hurt his pinky
against Beltre’s cleat trying to get back. Then Beltre and Cruz
led off the next inning by taking rookie Lance Lynn deep as part of a 3-run inning that left St. Louis
trailing 7-4 late. Yet here we are with the score
all tied up in extra innings. How’d we get here? Well, in the bottom of the 8th, Allen Craig, on his
first swing of the game, got back one of those runs, which he only had the chance to do because he took over for Holliday after his mishap at 3rd base. Jason Motte kept the Rangers scoreless in the top half of the ninth, keeping the deficit at 2. The Cards were now down
to their last chance at the dish against the
Rangers’ outstanding, young, flame-throwing
closer Neftali Feliz, who’s allowed just 1 run in more than 10 innings this post season. It didn’t get off to a good start when second baseman
Ryan Theriot struck out, but then came Pujols, who clobbered the first pitch he saw to left-center for a double, bringing Berkman, representing
the tying run, to the plate. He drew a 4-pitch walk, and then Craig went down on strikes for the 2nd out. Up came Freese, 1 out away from elimination, and pretty soon, just 1
strike away from elimination. With the Cardinals’ season hanging by the very thinnest possible thread back in the 9th, the
Rangers’ primary goal was simply to not allow an extra-base hit. – [Commentator] And the Rangers in their no-doubles defense. It’s similar to football’s
prevent defense. – [Narrator] But on the
next pitch, Freese was able to launch this fastball to right, where Cruz wasn’t stationed deep enough, then misread the ball as
it soared over his head for a game-tying triple when the Cards were down to their absolute last gasp, so that’s how we hit extras where La Russa sent Motte out to pitch a 2nd inning, and even after Elvis
Andrus singled off him, Motte remained to face Josh Hamilton. Though Motte has mostly been a rock in the back end of the Cardinals’ pen, it’s a curious choice. That’s because La Russa had
at his disposal this guy, Arthur Rhodes, a man who
turned 42 years young a few days ago, and who
was actually a Ranger earlier this season,
guaranteeing him a ring one way or another. He’s a left-handed specialist who’s only been called
upon twice this series, each time to retire just one batter, and each time, that
batter was Josh Hamilton. But not this time, and that was a 406-foot mistake. – [Commentator] At the wall,
Hamilton has gone deep. – [Narrator] So again, the Cardinals had to overcome a 2-run deficit
to keep their season alive, but they led off the bottom of the 10th with back-to-back singles, and a bunt moved the tying
run to scoring position. Theriot drove in one
with this groundball, but that was also the inning’s 2nd out, and after Pujols got a free pass, that brought up Berkman, their final hope. Rangers pitcher Scott
Feldman got a 2nd strike off this foul ball, again
bringing the Cardinals a single strike away from heartbreak, but again, they refused to die when Berkman slapped
this single to center, keeping a season alive
that should have died so many different times. After the Rangers couldn’t do much against Cards pitcher Jake Westbrook, that brings us here, to
the bottom of the 11th with the hometown kid Freese leading off with Mark Lowe on the mound, trying to cap an up-and-down evening to force a Game 7 the next day for all the marbles about 46 minutes after
already rescuing them from certain defeat. Lose this game, and it
would be a crushing end to the 2-month fairytale
that got them to this point while possibly marking the end of an era with their 1st baseman, who’s been such a monumental figure and face of the franchise for 11 years. But win, and we will
see you tomorrow night. Welcome to a moment in history. – [Commentator] Freese hits
it in the air to center. We will see you tomorrow night. (TV clicks) – [Narrator] The Cardinals
went on to win Game 7 the next day to become world champs, then saw Pujols sign a $240 million contract with the Angels. Anyway, thanks so much for watching, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and click to watch more of our stuff.

100 thoughts on “David Freese’s epic World Series walk-off demands a deep rewind | 2011 Cardinals-Rangers Game 6

  1. was 9 years old when this happened. still remember watching this game live with my dad and the buildup of just getting the wild card spot. won’t ever forget it, miss you freese💛 st. louis still loves you!

  2. I'm no baseball expert, but genuinely asking… 11:32… Holliday beat the tag, is he out because it's a force out?

  3. This was the greatest season in baseball history. Game 6 and 7 was the best world series games ever played.
    And allen Craig was the real hero in 2011.

  4. This gives me chills, I remember watching this as an 11 year old kid and running around the house celebrating

  5. This is why the only thing on tv I've watched since a kid is sports or really any entertainment. You're not going to possibly get that amount of depth or intrigue with anything else

  6. Have you guys done the 2006 nlcs between the cards and the let's? I feel like that would be a good video

  7. *We barely made it into the playoffs
    *We were down 3-2 in the world series
    *We were down to our last strike twice
    "WHAT A TEAM, WHAT A RIDE"

  8. Being at this game was one of the greatest moments of my life. I just turned 21 and man was it amazing. Could live this night over forever. The smile it brings to my face watching this again is unreal.

  9. Many of my coworkers had turned off the TV and gone to bed in disgust. They where stunned to here that the Cardinals where still alive after 2 months of do or die. And David Freese will never have to pay for his own beer or steak dinner in St. Louis for the rest of his life!

  10. How clutch was David Freese and Lance Berkman that year!!!! And that absolute gem of a game Chris Carpenter threw!!!!

  11. Being a young Braves fan at the time, I still remember thinking that the Phillies should have just let us win. I could have went crazy when Hunter Pence got that hit, hated him for years because of it. Anyways, Cards fans, you’re welcome for a collapse only capable of happening by an Atlanta sports team.

  12. Cruz was scared of that wall at a time he should have been willing to run through it……

  13. No flashback to the “We will see you tomorrow night” call? Joe Bucks dad said that in a game 7 twenty years prior.

  14. SB Nation: Albert Pujols was arguably one of the best right handed hitters of all time

    Edgar Martinez: am I a joke to you?

  15. I feel bad that when I think david freese, I think of when he stole second and a wild throw allowed him to take 3rd. another wild throw made him go home, but he was thrown out at the plate

  16. I didn't get to watch this game because I was out of town camping but I vividly remember us all sat around the fire listening intently to the radio, on the edge of our seats the whole time. What a night. Unforgettable.

  17. I remember watching that as a kid and being in awe of David Freese and i still have a poster of that world seried on my wall. ( i am a BIG cardinals fan)

  18. There was an MLB the Show game opening sequence that did an absolutely fantastic job of showing this whole situation, can’t remember what year it was though.

  19. I am from St. Louis and was at this game. Don't think I will experience a better baseball moment in my life. Beating the Bruins this year in game 7 was close though and we did it in a very similar fashion!

  20. This was awesome for sure,I make sure to watch it every couple of months, the redemption! Can you please though do a rewind about the Jays and Rangers game 5, you know the one the weird bat incident, and then the bat flip!

  21. Annoying video style. How many times can you backtrack in one video? Just tell the story in chronological order.

  22. They were called the cardiac Cards for a reason. Craziest and luckiest season I've ever saw from a team. #rallysquirrel

  23. Good video, but the all-star game “complaint” is merely parroting the dumb remarks of other talking heads. Prior to the all-star game determining the home-field advantage, they simply alternated it between the leagues. “Merit” was NEVER a determination. The young narrator is ignorant on that particular point.

  24. This was a really well put together video! Stories like this is why we love sports and that's coming from a pirates fan

  25. I remember the exact moment I heard that bat hit that ball. St. Louis saw it sore through the air onto the grass and that one fan grabbed the ball, shoved it down his pants and later gave the ball back to Freese.

  26. One day here in cold Finland, I decided I'm gonna watch a full baseball game at random from YouTube and see what it's all about.
    First game was some regular season game where the Giants beat the Dodgers. It wasn't a great game but still somehow attracting. I watched another one and this time I deliberately chose 2014 World Series game 7. "This is a goddamn exciting game to watch", I thought. Even though nothing that much happened in that game 7.

    Finally googling "greatest MLB games in history" brought me to watch Rangers-Cardinals Game 6. A grown man developed an fandom feeling from other side of Atlantic, because of a game played over 5 years ago and without any cultural roots to this game other than my own country's variant of baseball. Been a baseball-aficionado ever since.

  27. People understand Freese and Bergman’s heroic hits, but as a cardinals fan explaining that season to non cardinals, their jaws drop when they learn we were almost 10 games back at the start of September. Absolutely nuts. Idk if there’s a 30 for 30 on that season but there really should be.

  28. I remember watching this game with my little sister, who knows nothing about sports. When Freese hit that homer, all I could remember was her saying ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? That was the indicator that it was more than a game, it became a memory. As a non Cardinals fan, I could only imagine the joy and amazement this game brought to Cards fans and the city of St Louis.

  29. I was at game 7. Not many fans of any sport are able to see a game 7 home winner so I feel very fortunate. With that being said I would trade five game 7 wins for this single game 6. I was at home completely losing my mind. I would like to see the win % for the Cardinals in inning 9 and 10.

  30. I remember that game Texas players were high fiving in the outfield like they had already won the game like it was over fukn morons

  31. As a young Rays fan at the time, I vividly remember being crushed during that ALDS. In retrospect, we never stood a damn chance against that lineup. Jeez

  32. As a Giants fan I kinda hate the Cards but even I have to be awe of their performance in 2011’s postseason, and particularly the guts and determination they showed in this game. Unbelievable

  33. This, and the 2019 blues cup run are both the most memorable sports moments for me. I remember where I was when this game happened. I was sitting on the coach with my grandpa, watching it, I had to be quiet because my grandma was asleep. It was something else. Then the game 7, it was something else.

  34. We are survivors ppl wanna hate on my city cause we the best city in the world …that cool REMEMBER Redbirds don't die we multiply forevermore the best baseball team dead or alive #Cardinals #STL

  35. The Cards know when to let players leave and letting Pujols go was a smart move. Dude has been a pure shell of himself since joining the Angels.

  36. as a Cubs fan we learned long ago to never underestimate the cards. Wish they lose this WS but they wouldnt be a good rival if they did

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