What they’re saying about the Cardinals winning the World Series

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The Cardinals defeated the Rangers 6-2 last night to win Game 7 of the World Series and their 11th World Championship. Here’s some reaction from around the baseball world:

Albert Pujols: “We had a 5 percent chance (to reach the playoffs) with 35 games left in the season. We knew we had to play great. The first five months of the season were pretty bad. But it doesn’t matter. We’re world champions.”

Bill DeWitt, Jr.: “[Losing Adam Wainwright] was a bad hit in Spring Training, and Tony was great. He said it’s not fair, but we’re not going to give up. This is a good club and we’ve got a shot. We’ll just do everything we can to win with what we’ve got.”

Tony La Russa: “It was overwhelming. We were on the edge game after game after game. You might lose one, but as it got closer, elimination games, the character on this club is off the charts. And we are more talented I think than some people realize, especially as we got healthy. But you play with that urgency, it’s a little scary at times and it takes a lot out of you, but it’s really fun to compete that way.”

Jayson Stark: No team had ever won a World Series after finding itself 10½ games out of a playoff spot on Aug. 25 or later. No team had ever won a World Series after finding itself 8½ games out in September. No team had ever won a World Series after being one strike away from extinction in back-to-back innings of the same World Series game. But this team is special.

Matthew Leach: If there’s one trait that defines La Russa teams, year in and year out, it’s a businesslike approach to the game. Win today’s game, don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. He hammered that home prior to Friday’s game, when he stopped reporters from pursuing a line of questioning regarding that already famous Game 6. If he was going to ask his players to focus only at the game at hand, he was going to do the same. And they certainly did, playing crisply while the Rangers stumbled.

Bernie Miklasz: That’s why, of the Cardinals’ 11 World Series champions, this may be the most unusual. A case can be made that these Cardinals pulled off the greatest comeback in MLB history. There are other legitimate candidates, such as the 1914 Boston Braves, or the 1978 New York Yankees. But no team had ever won it all after being 10½ games out of a playoff spot as late as Aug. 24.

Shane Victorino: Congrats to the Cardinals! Play the best baseball in October! Tip my hat! 11 in 11 whoa ironic!

Ron Washington: “Sometimes when opportunity is in your presence, you certainly can’t let it get away because sometimes it takes a while before it comes back. If there’s one thing that happened in this World Series that I’ll look back on is being so close, just having one pitch to be made and one out to be gotten, and it could have been a different story.”

Mike Adams: “We probably needed an extra day to come back from that game. It was so emotionally draining. I was so tired, and I threw three pitches. There’s a lot more to it than just the physical part of it.”

Adrian Beltre: “We all know we lost the Series yesterday. We shouldn’t have let it slip away. We came back today to try to win it, but the momentum just took them and they won it. It’s not a nice feeling.”

Ken Rosenthal: So, don’t compare the Rangers to the Buffalo Bills, the only NFL team to lose four straight Super Bowls. The Rangers, looking very much like newbies, were outclassed by the Giants in their first Series. But with this one, I keep coming back to the ball Cruz should have caught, and how different it all might have been.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.