ST. LOUIS — Jason Motte and the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen failed to hold on this time, allowing the Texas Rangers to tie the World Series at a game apiece.
With the Cardinals on the verge of winning the first two games, Motte allowed consecutive singles to open the ninth inning, and sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young lifted the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 victory Thursday night.
In a virtual repeat of the opener, pinch-hitter Allen Craig put the Cardinals ahead with a seventh-inning single off Alexi Ogando.
After five pitchers combined for three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to finish off a 3-2 Cardinals win in Game 1, Motte quickly got into trouble.
Ian Kinsler blooped a leadoff single to left in the ninth, just the fourth hit for the Rangers, and then stole second. Elvis Andrus singled to center, with Kinsler holding at third, and Andrus advanced when Jon Jay's throw deflected off the glove of cutoff man Albert Pujols.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa brought in lefty Arthur Rhodes to face Hamilton, who is hitless in 16 consecutive World Series at-bats dating to Game 3 against San Francisco last year. But the reigning AL MVP drove home Kinsler with a fly to right.
Lance Lynn relieved, and Young hit a fly to center that scored Andrus.
Motte took the loss, and Mike Adams got the win with a scoreless eighth. Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for the save, walking Yadier Molina before striking out Nick Punto and Scott Schumaker. Rafael Furcal flied out to end it.
When the Series shifts to Texas on Saturday night, Matt Harrison starts Game 3 for the Rangers against Kyle Lohse. Derek Holland goes for Texas in Game 4 on Sunday and Edwin Jackson for the Cardinals.
Texas, seeking the first Series title in franchise history, has not lost consecutive games since Aug. 23-25 at Boston and avoided a repeat of last year, when the Rangers went to San Francisco and were beaten by the Giants 11-7 and 9-0 in the first two games. The Giants went on to win the Series in five games.
Teams winning the opener have won seven of the last eight titles, 12 of the last 14 and 19 of the last 23. Of teams that won Game 2 to even the Series, 29 of 54 have gone on to win – but just two of the last seven, the 2002 Angels and the 2009 Yankees.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia allowed three hits in seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Colby Lewis matched him until the seventh, when David Freese singled with one out and No. 8 batter Nick Punto hit a single off the glove of first baseman Michael Young – who played there only 36 times during the regular season.
That knocked out both starters, with Ogando coming in to face Craig for the second straight night.
Craig fouled off a pitch, then lined a single to right-center that sent Freese home and energized a sellout crowd of 47,288 at Busch Stadium.
Lewis had gotten into trouble in the fifth, when Punto singled on an 0-2 pitch with two outs. Lewis walked Garcia, an .097 hitter (6 for 62) during the regular season.
Furcal hit a one-hop smash to the shortstop side of second, and Andrus ranged over to make a diving stop. From his knees on the outfield grass, he flipped the ball with his glove to Kinsler, who just beat a sliding Garcia to second base.
Lewis gave up a two-out double to Furcal in the third, then retired Jay on a groundout to first. After Lance Berkman reached in the fourth on a one-out error by Kinsler at second, the right-hander got Matt Holliday to ground into an inning-ending double play, with Andrus making a nice backhand flip to second.
NOTES: Adrian Beltre hit a foul one-hopper in the fourth than bounced off the right shoulder of Kinsler, who brushed it off with a smile and did not appear to be hurt. ... A night after a cold, rainy opener, it was slightly warmer, with a game-time temperature of 50 degrees. ... Stan Musial, the Cardinals Hall of Famer who turns 91 next month, attended the game at Busch Stadium.