Rangers Take 3-2 Lead in 2011 World Series After Defeating Cardinals 4-2 in Game 5. La Russa Blamed for Costly Mistakes

ARLINGTON, TX – Mike Napoli had an historic night in game 5 of the 2011 World Series. His tie breaking two run double in the eigth inning put the Texas Rangers in the lead 4-2 over the St Louis Cardinals. It also made Napoli just the second player in baseball history to have 4 multiple RBI games in a single Fall Classic. The other was Mickey Mantle in 1960.

The Ranger’s catcher was also part of a strange play that ended game five. Neftali Feliz got Lance Berkman swinging for the final out but the ball deflected off of Napoli’s knee. His underhand toss to first base secured a 4-2 win and placed the Rangers one game away from the 2011 World Series title.

Did a Bad Phone Call Do La Russa In?

ESPN reports:

As difficult as this idea might be to grasp, St. Louis bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist apparently strayed from La Russa’s instructions — twice — because the noise level at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was so overwhelming that he couldn’t hear the Cardinals manager over the bullpen phone. The crowd of 51,459 was sufficiently deafening and disruptive to turn La Russa and Lilliquist into Abbott and Costello.

“Sometimes it gets real loud, especially in some of the bullpens that are right amidst the fans and excitement,” La Russa said. “It happens in Philadelphia. It’s hard to hear it there. So it’s not unusual. Maybe we need to come up with some ear mikes or something.”

SB Nation reports:

A bullpen mixup may have cost the Cardinals the game, as La Russa and Bullpen Coach Derek Lilliquist failed to communicate on who should be warming up to face Rangers slugger Mike Napoli. With two runners in scoring position and two outs in the bottom of the eight inning, Manager Tony La Russa expected closer Jason Motte to be warm and ready for a showdown with Napoli, but instead discovered he had to stick with Marc Rzepczynski. The matchup was unfavorable, and Napoli hit a game-winning double as a result, but La Russa still felt it could have worked, saying this after the game:

“We had a chance with Rzepczynski’s stuff to get Napoli on the first pitch, and then he put a nice swing on a breaking ball.” Via ESPN Dallas

La Russa didn’t quite know how to explain the gaffe after the game, saying “that phone in a loud ballpark, it’s not an unusual problem.”

With a 3-2 series lead, the Texas Rangers are now only one game from their first championship with two chances to win it in St. Louis after their 4-2 victory Monday.

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