The 2011 World Series is now a best-out-of-three affair. Allen Craig's pinch-heroics in Game 1, Kinsler's base stealing derring-do in the ninth inning of Game 2 and even the historic pyrotechnics of Albert Pujols in Game 3 have all been rendered meaningless -- or, at least, not decisive -- by a twenty-something left hander with a wispy mustache that evokes Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite far more than it does Pedro Martinez.
Well, actually, Martinez did rock a thin mustache during his salad days with the Dodgers... But before getting into the relative hirsuteness of October heroes, let's take a look back at Derek Holland's performance and the Rangers' 4-0 win over the Cardinals in Game 4.
TALKING PEP: Although he is clearly the less heralded skipper in this Series, FOX caught Rangers manager Ron Washington displaying some of the skills that have made him so successful in Texas. Before the first pitch, Washington pulled aside starting pitcher Derek Holland for a quick talk. With a hand placed on each of the young pitcher's shoulders, Washington imparted his last bits of advice. The playful slaps at Holland's face and cap were as awkward yet loving a move as most fathers would make. While his excitability may prevent him from having the gravitas of his Cardinals counterpart, Washington has an earnestness about him that is endearing -- and that clearly resonates with his players.
STREAK HALTED: When Josh Hamilton smoked a ball to deep right in the bottom of the first to score Elvis Andrus from first base, he didn't just stake the Rangers to a 1-0 lead. Hamilton's RBI double also ensured the Rangers would snap a streak of 10 games during which the Cardinals had scored first.
HOLLAND'S OPUS: After watching his teammates bludgeoned for 16 runs on Saturday night, Derek Holland authored perhaps his greatest single-game performance in hands-down his biggest career start. A 25th-round draft pick in 2006, Holland showed poise beyond his years from the first pitch and had some of his best velocity late in the game. The young lefty twirled eight scoreless frames and then came out for the ninth inning, much to the delight of the crowd in Arlington. He induced a groundout to start the inning, but walked the next batter, Rafael Furcal. With his closer ready in the 'pen, Washington went to Neftali Feliz for the final two outs. Over 8.1 innings of work, Holland surrendered just two hits, both to Lance Berkman.
TURNING POINT: With Pujols lurking every few innings, the Rangers' 1-0 lead seemed tenuous at best as the game went along. It wasn't until Mike Napoli's three-run blast in the home sixth that Texas seemed on the straight road to evening the Series. Napoli turned around the first pitch that he saw from reliever Mitchell Boggs, depositing it in the left-field stands. It was a high and tight fastball and the slugging backstop destroyed it.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR: Throughout the Cardinals' flight through the postseason, Tony La Russa has, rightfully, been lauded with praise for his deft use of his bullpen. On Sunday night, though, he made a move that was an unequivocal failure. With two on and one away in the bottom of the sixth, La Russa came out for starter Edwin Jackson, who had limited the Rangers to just one run despite walking seven. With Napoli waiting at the plate, La Russa called for Boggs. Needless to say, the move didn't work out.
These things all happened. Nouns begat verbs and the occasional adjective was warranted. But those crisp sentences don't do anything to convey the excitement -- or agony -- of watching a sporting event unfold. In real time, each hit is an exclamation and each miscue a hair-pulling disaster. The wild swings of emotion and the camaraderie -- whether in the ballpark, at a sports bar or just on Twitter -- among those riding the roller coaster is as much a part of enjoying sports as the outcome of any particular game. Here are the highlights, photographs and real-time Twitter reactions of fans and media members as the fourth game of the 2011 World Series was unfolding.
From Nolan Ryan being unable to reel in the ceremonial pitch of George W. Bush and the myriad impressions of Holland's mustache to the footage of the last out recorded by Neftali Feliz, every aspect of the game is here to be experienced all over again.