Run-scoring hits by Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler offset Lance Berkman's two-run homer, leaving the Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals tied 2-2 after three innings Thursday night as Texas tried to win its first World Series title.
With Texas ahead 3-2 in the Series, the Rangers knocked out Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia after just three innings, his shortest outing since June 2010. Fernando Salas relieved to start the fourth.
Texas got far better swings against Garcia than it did in Game 2, when he allowed three hits in six shutout innings. This time, he gave up five hits and two walks, throwing 59 pitches.
Seven of the first 13 Texas batters reached base, but the Rangers hit into two double plays and were just 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Hamilton hit an RBI single in the first, Berkman put St. Louis ahead in the bottom half against Colby Lewis. Kinsler then retied the score when he doubled in a run in the second.
Lewis allowed two hits and one walk, throwing 42 pitches.
Just 24 of the 61 previous teams with 3-2 leads won Game 6, but 41 of those 61 teams went on to win the title. Eighteen teams trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven format bounced back for championships, including 12 that swept the last two games at home.
In an effort to provide more production behind Albert Pujols, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa moved Berkman to cleanup and dropped slumping Matt Holliday down to fifth.
Rangers manager Ron Washington moved hot-hitting Mike Napoli up one spot to seventh and had Craig Gentry hitting eighth, as he did in Game 2.
Four Cardinals Hall of Famers, wearing cardinal red sports jackets, stood at home plate before the game. Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith. And then the greatest Cardinals player, 90-year-old Stan Musial, was driven from the right-field corner to the plate in a golf cart. Wearing a red sweater and Cardinals warmup jacket, he greeted his fellow Hall of Famers and watched 2006 Series MVP David Eckstein throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Texas went ahead 10 pitches in. After starting with a called strike, Garcia walked Kinsler on four straight pitches, and Elvis Andrus' hit-and-run single put runners at the corners. Hamilton pulled the next pitch into right field for a single and his third RBI of the Series.
Garcia recovered to strike out Michael Young and Adrian Beltre, then got Nelson Cruz to hit into an inning-ending forceout on his 23rd pitch.
Lewis quickly gave back the lead. Skip Schumaker, moved up from eighth in the batting order to second, singled with one out in the bottom half. Pujols flied out on the next pitch. Berkman also swung at the first pitch, sending an 89 mph offering over the center-field wall. The home run lifted Berkman's batting average to .421 (8 for 19) in this year's Series and .406 (13 for 32) in his career.
Napoli, the Series leader with nine RBIs, walked leading off the second and Gentry singled him to second. Lewis bunted directly at third baseman David Freese, who started a rare 5-6-4 double play. Shortstop Rafael Furcal took the throw at third for the force, then threw to second baseman Nick Punto covering first.
Kinsler followed with a ground-rule double that hopped over the left-field fence, tying the score 2-all. La Russa then had Mitchell Boggs start warming up after Garcia had thrown just 42 pitches to 10 batters,
Andrus hit an inning-ending lineout to right that Berkman slightly misjudged and caught with a jump.
Schumaker and Pujols flied out just in front of the warning track in the third. Other than his 5-for-6, three-homer, six-RBI performance in Game 3, Pujols is 0 for 14.