Rangers can make Cards disappear

The Texas Rangers can garner their first title in franchise history Thursday night if they defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of this best-of-seven World Series. The Rangers grabbed a 3-2 series lead by outlasting the Cards 4-2 during Monday night’s Game 5 as $1.30 home favorites.

The combined six runs dipped below the eight-run closing total, leaving the ‘under’ 4-1 in the first five series contests.

Most sports books monitored by the SportsOptions odds product have opened St. Louis as a slight $1.15 home favorite for Thursday’s Game 6, with the total set at 7 ½ ‘under’ (minus $1.15).

Thursday’s pitching dual between Texas’ Colby Lewis and St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia will be a rematch of Game 2 when Texas registered a 2-1 victory as a $1.10 home favorite. Neither pitcher was involved in the decision, with the combined three runs ducking well ‘under’ the eight-run closing total.

Lewis yielded just one run on four hits through 6 1/3 innings spanning 96 pitches. The right-hander fanned four and walked two.

Garcia pitched even better, blanking the Rangers on just three hits through seven innings. The southpaw walked one and fanned seven during an 87-pitch effort.

Michael Young’s sacrifice fly capped a two-run, ninth-inning rally to give Texas the victory. At the time, it evened the series at one game apiece.

Josh Hamilton hit a game-tying sacrifice fly immediately before Young’s fly ball to center field off Lance Lynn. That scored Elvis Andrus with the go-ahead run.

Texas closer Neftali Feliz struck out two in the ninth and then retired Rafael Furcal on a fly ball to complete the save.

Allen Craig’s pinch-hit single in the seventh gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead, but closer Jason Motte was unable to hold the lead in the ninth.

Ian Kinsler started the Texas uprising with a bloop single and then stole second. Kinsler moved to third on Andrus’ single to center, with Andrus advancing to second when Albert Pujols failed to cut off the throw.

Arthur Rhodes replaced Motte and allowed the game-tying sacrifice fly to Hamilton before Young drove in the tiebreaking run.

David Freese and Nick Punto singled off Rangers starter Colby Lewis in the seventh before the pinch-hitting Craig lined the second pitch he saw from reliever Alexi Ogando to right field to drive in Freese with the Cardinals’ lone run. Craig also had the decisive hit off Ogando in St. Louis’ Game 1 victory.

Gary Cederstrom, who will be the home plate umpire for Thursday’s Game 6, has seen the ‘under’ go 21-12 in his 33 starts behind the dish.

Thursday’s weather forecast calls for an 30 percent chance of rain, with the high around 60 and the low in the mid 40s. The wind will be out of the northwest at 10 to 20 mph.

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