Posted Oct 23, 2011.
The story of game three is that Albert Pujols became the third man to hit three home runs in a single World Series game. All three HRs came after the pivotal fourth inning which opened the flood gates and started St. Louis down the path to a monster offensive game.
With the Cardinals up 1-0 in the fourth inning, Pujols started the inning innocently enough, pulling a single to left. The second batter, Matt Holliday grounded to SS Elvis Andrus for what should have been a routine double play. The sure handed Texas double play combo of Andrus and Ian Kinsler have been all over highlight reels after their performance in Game 2. This time, Kinsler threw the ball wide right to first baseman, Mike Napoli.
Napoli managed to jump and make the grab and pull his glove around to tag the runner, Holliday, on the head before he reached first. However, first base umpire, Ron Kulpa, didn’t see it that way. Kulpa called Holliday safe, Napoli argued and his disbelief resulted in the photo above. After the game Holliday would say it happened so fast he didn’t know whether he beat the tag. In the bottom of the 7th Matt Holliday would add insult to injury for Mike Napoli, throwing him out at home on a sac fly.
With the mistake at first now in the heads of the Texas Rangers, especially those of their starting pitcher, Matt Harrison, and first baseman, Mike Napoli, the St. Louis offense came to life. After a couple sharply hit balls and an intentional walk to Yadier Molina to load the bases and set up a force play at the plate, John Jay hit a ground ball to Napoli at first. Had Michael Young been playing first, this is almost a guaranteed double play. With Napoli, only minutes after the blown call at first, the throw home sailed left of the catcher, Yorvit Torrealba, and brought home two runs and flung open the flood gates of a four run inning.
During this ten minute span, the look of Game 3 completely changed. The momentum shifted from Texas to St. Louis and the Cards didn’t look back.