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ST. LOUIS -- First, Elvis Andrus took everybody's breath away with his glove.
Then he breathed life into the Texas Rangers with his bat and baserunning.
Known for his defensive wizardry, Andrus outdid himself with a fielding gem to end the fifth inning of the Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 2 of the Fall Classic on Thursday night. With runners on first and second and two out, the third-year shortstop dove up the middle to snare Rafael Furcal's smash. Almost before Andrus struck the dirt, he scooped the ball from his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler for a force play on Jaime Garcia. Andrus' magic preserved a scoreless tie.
Andrus contributed handsomely to Texas' two-run rally in the ninth inning by singling off St. Louis closer Jason Motte and advancing to second on center fielder Jon Jay's throw to the infield that resulted in an error being charged to cutoff man Albert Pujols. Sacrifice flies by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young ultimately pushed Andrus across with the go-ahead run.
But it was Andrus' defensive play that appeared bound to live forever in highlight videos. He acknowledged that given the circumstances, it might have been his finest moment afield.
"I've made that play a couple of times," Andrus said. "Just the fact that it was in the World Series makes it special. That's a play I'm never going to forget. I've been really focused all season. In this game, you have to be focused pitch-by-pitch -- especially in that situation. You have to make plays. You have to help the pitcher on any chance."
Andrus' teammates were appreciative, to say the least.
"Unbelievable play," Young said. "I threw up in my mouth."
"I'm a pretty even-keeled guy, but I gave it a fist pump," said right-hander Colby Lewis. "I was pretty excited about it. It saved a run."
"The play was ridiculous," Kinsler said. "Glove flip was right on the money. It doesn't get any better than that."
Rangers manager Ron Washington summarized Andrus' all-around excellence.
"He saved us right there," Washington said, initially referring to Andrus' defense. "He kept runs off the board, and that's exactly the type of play that he's capable of doing. ... He's one of the biggest guys in our lineup when it comes to getting clutch base hits, and he did a good job fighting Motte."