David Freese seems to have a knack for performing in clutch situations.
Almost a year has passed since the St. Louis Cardinals third baseman saved his team's season in Game 6 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers. With two outs and the Cards down to their final strike, Freese hit a two-run triple to force extra innings, and on his next at-bat in the 11th inning, he forced a Game 7 with a walk-off solo home run. The Cardinals went on to win the championship the following night.
Freese's career likely will be defined by that game in St. Louis, but his performance in the midst of a wild-card race this season – though not career defining – has been impressive as well.
Just last week with St. Louis down 4-0 in the fourth inning to the Houston Astros, Freese hit a three-run shot to pull the Cardinals within one in a game they'd go on to win 13-5.
And Friday night against the Washington Nationals, Freese was at it again, this time with three separate swings of the bat.
First, in the second inning with the Cards down 4-0, Freese hammered a two-run home run to center field to swing the momentum. Then in the fifth with St. Louis trailing 6-4, he hit a lead-off double to the right-field corner and eventually scored the game's fifth run off a Matt Carpenter double later in the inning. And finally in the top of the ninth with Allen Craig on second and the game tied at nine, Freese finished off his impressive 3-for-5 night with a line-drive RBI single over the glove of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to give St. Louis the lead. The Cards would hold on for a 10-9 win.
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"It felt like a playoff game," Freese said after the win. "The atmosphere, the team we are playing against. They have 80 wins for a reason. We are battling. You are going to trade punches when you got two teams going at it. Today was fun."
Though the game-winning RBI didn't have World Series implications, it allowed St. Louis to hold its ground in the National League wild-card race, where they have a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second spot.
"I'd say all things considered, the message we have been trying to get our hands around the last few days was just showing life," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I don't know if you can show more life than what they showed today, and heart. I think all things considered, that's as good a win as we've had."
Josh Reddick is giving the Oakland Athletics some much-needed power and consistency at the plate.
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The 25-year-old outfielder, who is in his first full major-league season, leads the A's with 28 home runs and 72 RBIs, and this past week he – and Oakland, for the matter – was in a groove at the plate.
In six games over seven days, Reddick hit .393 with two home runs and nine RBIs as Oakland maintained the top spot in the AL wild-card race.
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