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Cardinals rally twice, win in 11th to force Game 7 of World Series

Reporting from NPR's Tom Goldman was used in this story.

David Freese homered to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals forced the World Series to a Game 7 by rallying from two-run deficits against the Texas Rangers in the 9th and 10th innings on Thursday night.

Texas had a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the 9th when Freese, who grew up in St. Louis, hit a two-run triple just over the head of the leaping Nelson Cruz. Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the World Series in the top of the 10th to put the Rangers up 9-7. But in the bottom of the 10th, Lance Berkman hit a two-run single to tie the score at 9.

Jake Westbrook came on to pitch the top of the 11th, allowing just a single to hot-hitting catcher Mike Napoli. Then, the hometown boy came to the plate in the bottom of the 11th against Mark Lowe and smacked a 428-foot shot to almost straight-away center.

"It feels good," Freese told reporters after the game. "I felt like I was part of a circus out there, bouncing balls off the top of my hat. I just wanted an opportunity. We had some good at bats and tied that up and we just kept battling. That defines our team."

It's the first time Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa has managed a World Series Game 7, which will be played tonight at Busch Stadium.

"There's a lot of reasons that I'm really pleased," LaRussa said after the game." For one thing, I thought, even though it didn't look good, we've competed better than to get bounced out in the sixth. It's been an even series, and now it's winner take all. But there are a lot of guys in our club that are really enjoying the World Series, especially the first-timers, second-timers. And experiencing Game 7 is something they'll never forget. I mean, it's just as exciting at it's supposed to be."

Matt Harrison will pitch tonight for the Rangers. The starter for the Cardinals is still to de determined.