The Texas Rangers bounced back from a 16-7 loss in Game 3 of the World Series with a dominant pitching performance by Derek Holland in a 4-0 win on Sunday night. With the win, the Rangers drew even with the St. Louis Cardinals, setting up a best-of-three game series for the title.
While it may not have been needed in the end -- Holland spun a gem and the Rangers pitched a shutout -- Mike Napoli left no doubt about the outcome with a deep drive in the sixth. Napoli was the first batter St. Louis reliever Mitchell Boggs faced, and the following happened on the first pitch:
Just like that, the 1-0 lead was a 4-0 lead. With the way the Rangers were pitching, it was more than enough of a cushion.
After the game, Boggs lamented the pitch Napoli deposited into the seats.
"I think he was ready to hit. I was aggressive, trying to go right at him, and one ran in on him," Boggs said. "I left it up and he was able to get out in front of it."
It matches up with what everyone watching saw. Boggs tried to throw a fastball by Napoli, and the Rangers first baseman was having none of it. The poor location of the pitch -- Boggs left it up and a bit in -- made it a meatball for Napoli, who easily turned on it and took a hack, sending it down the left field line and into the seats.
While the Rangers probably would've been able to escape with a 1-0 win, Napoli's home run essentially put it away. Holland powered through 8-1/3 innings without allowing a run before turning the ball over to Neftali Feliz, who closed the game out.
With the series even again, the Rangers and Cardinals get back on the field Monday in Game 5.