Tied at two

Derek Holland’s gem pulled the Texas Rangers even with the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

It’s been almost six weeks since they’ve seen a similar effort from C.J. Wilson, but they may need one with St. Louis sending Chris Carpenter to the mound.

In what may be his final start with the Rangers, Wilson will try to put an end to his postseason struggles and outpitch Carpenter in Game 5 on Monday night in Arlington.

Holland was terrific in a 4-0 win over St. Louis in Sunday’s Game 4, coming two outs shy of a complete game while yielding two hits and striking out seven. One of the best postseason pitching performances in Rangers history, it evened the World Series at two games apiece after Albert Pujols had three homers and six RBIs in the Cardinal’s 16-7 romp the previous night.

“That’s why they say momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher,” said Lance Berkman, who had both of St. Louis’ hits Sunday and is 7 for 15 in the series.

No matter who wins Game 5, the World Series will return to Busch Stadium for Game 6 on Wednesday night. This is just the second World Series in the last eight to go at least six games; the Yankees defeated Philadelphia in six in 2009.

Wilson hasn’t won in the postseason since beating Tampa Bay in Game 2 of last year’s division series. He’s 0-5 with a 6.18 ERA in seven playoff starts since, including 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in four this year.

The left-hander set a career high with 16 regular season wins, but hasn’t won at all since topping Oakland on Sept. 11.

Wilson struggled again in last Wednesday’s Game 1, allowing three runs while walking six and hitting a batter in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals and Carpenter, who yielded two runs in six innings.

“Yes, he struggled in the postseason this year,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Wilson, “but we still feel that the next time he takes the ball is the time we’ll see the C.J. that we know we have.”

It may be the last time Texas sees Wilson in a Rangers uniform. He’s headed for free agency this winter, and his performance Monday could weigh heavily on potential suitors.

“I haven’t really thought about that at all,” Wilson said. “I’m just thinking about the team and where we’re at and being in the World Series obviously, like there’s no extra series after this. There’s no galaxy series or universe series or whatever.

“It’s a chance for me to set some things straight for us as a team.”

Unlike Wilson, Carpenter thrives in the postseason, going 8-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 career outings. The Cardinals have won all four of the right-hander’s starts in the 2011 playoffs, and he’s posted a 2.25 ERA while getting credit for the wins in the last three.

“Postseason is just at a different level,” Carpenter said. “I think the guys that are successful maybe might be a little more relaxed and able to deal with the distractions that I am talking about a little better because there is a lot of them. But I don’t think that it should define – if you scuffle in the postseason, it shouldn’t define what type of player you are. That could just be that series.”

Pujols would like to re-establish himself in this series. Following a remarkable five-hit performance in Game 3, he went 0 for 4 on Sunday.

“I got some good pitches to hit. I missed it. That’s part of the game,” said Pujols, who is batting .390 with five homers and 16 RBIs in the playoffs.

Fellow Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday is 2 for 15 in this series after hitting .375 in St. Louis’ previous 10 postseason contests.

Catcher Mike Napoli came up big with the bat for Texas in Game 4, connecting for a three-run homer after promising the Rangers would regroup from Saturday’s loss.

“It was behind me when I left the field,” Napoli said of Game 3, during which his throwing error allowed two runs to score. “I didn’t really think about it anymore. I knew we had to come here and get a win.”

Napoli has two homers and seven RBIs in the World Series, including a two-run shot off Carpenter in Game 1.

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