Game 4: Hamilton gives Rangers 1-0 lead

MIKE FITZPATRICK - AP Sports Writer
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols prepares for Game 4 of baseball's World Series, against the Texas Rangers  Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols prepares for Game 4 of baseball's World Series, against the Texas Rangers Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Game 4 is under way.

No sign of nerves from Rangers starter Derek Holland in the first inning as he retired the side in order, getting Albert Pujols on a grounder to shortstop.

Josh Hamilton gives Texas a 1-0 lead with an RBI double off Edwin Jackson in the bottom of the inning. Elvis Andrus scored easily from first on a ball into the right-field corner. David Murphy flied out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

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Fox showed an interesting exchange in the dugout before the game. Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Holland a face-to-face pep talk, putting his hands on the pitcher's shoulders before giving Holland a little slap on the cheek.

Holland was nodding, taking in every word of advice. But it certainly was unusual. Rarely do you see a starting pitcher engaged in that sort of a discussion moments before taking the mound — even in October. Most of the time, suggestions or pep talks take place long before that.

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Fox showed video of Pujols' first swing during batting practice. He slipped awkwardly in the batter's box and nearly fell down, but wasn't hurt.

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Wonder if Pujols will get much to hit tonight — or during the rest of the World Series, for that matter.

The three-time NL MVP put on perhaps the greatest hitting show in postseason history Saturday at Texas. He had three homers, six RBIs and five hits, tying World Series records with each achievement.

His huge outburst sent the Cardinals to a 16-7 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven championship. Now, it will be interesting to see if Washington gives Pujols any more chances to hurt the Rangers.

Remember, Washington took the bat out of Miguel Cabrera's hands in an unusual situation earlier this postseason. He intentionally walked the Detroit Tigers' slugger with nobody on late in Game 4 of the AL championship series and it nearly came back to bite him.

From here on out, whenever possible, expect Washington to take his chances with Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman rather than Pujols.

On the mound, the Rangers could really use a strong start from Holland, who is 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA in four postseason outings this year, including three starts. He's been hit pretty hard, allowing 18 hits, five homers and six walks in 13 2-3 innings.

The left-hander is facing Jackson, acquired by St. Louis just before the July 31 trade deadline. Jackson struggled in his last outing, Game 6 against Milwaukee in the NLCS.

If the Cardinals can win Game 4, they send ace Chris Carpenter to the mound Monday night with a chance to wrap up their second title in six seasons.

Texas, however, hasn't lost consecutive games since dropping three in a row to Boston from Aug. 23-25.

Washington made a change at first base, giving Mitch Moreland his first start of the World Series. Mike Napoli moves back behind the plate.

Napoli started at first Saturday night and made a crucial throwing error that allowed two runs to score. Washington said the move had nothing to do with that, though. He said Moreland, who is 2 for 19 (.105) in the postseason, was told a couple of days ago that he would play in Game 4.

Washington dropped Napoli to the No. 8 spot in the lineup, between Murphy and Moreland, to split up the righties and lefties at the bottom of the order.