Extra in extras
Thursday night was the 56th extra-inning game in World Series history, and the first since Game 3 of the 2005 Fall Classic between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.
It was also the 10th extra-inning game in Game 6 of the World Series, with the most recent prior in 1992, when Toronto defeated Atlanta to win their first of two consecutive Fall Classics.
National League clubs have now won 25 of the 56 extra-inning World Series games, while American League clubs have taken 28, with three games ending in a tie.
Home teams have now been victorious in 35 of the 56 games (62.5%).
It was just the fifth walk-off home run in Game 6 or later, joining some of the most famous World Series home runs ever – Bill Mazeroski (1960 Game 7); Carlton Fisk (1975 Game 6); Kirby Puckett (1991 Game 6); and Joe Carter (1993 Game 6).
The home run gave the Cardinals their second walk-off victory in World Series history, joining Game 2 of the 1944 Fall Classic, when Ken O’Dea collected an RBI-single to give St. Louis a 3-2 victory.
Earlier, Freese tied the game with a two-run triple in the ninth inning off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
On Friday night, the Cardinals will attempt to win their 11th World Championship, and their first since 2006.
With a win in the Series, the Cardinals would become the fifth Wild Card to win the World Series, and the first since 2004, joining the 1997 Marlins, 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins and 2004 Red Sox.
All the way
2011 is the 37th time that a best-of-7 World Series has gone to a seventh game (including 1912, when eight games were played following a Game 2 tie).
It is just the first time since 2002 that the Series has gone the distance, when the Anaheim Angels outlasted the San Francisco Giants.
2011 is just the fifth time in the last 23 World Series (beginning in 1988) that the Series has extended to a decisive seventh game. The others: Braves and Twins in 1991; Indians and Marlins in 1997; and Yankees and Diamondbacks in 2001.
Game 7 finishes
In the previous 36 instances (including 1912), the home team has been victorious 19 times (52.8%), while the road team has come out on top 17 times (47.2%).
The home team has been victorious in each of the last eight occurrences, beginning with the Cardinals victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982. The others: Royals over Cardinals (1985); Mets over Red Sox (1986); Twins over Cardinals (1987); Twins over Braves (1991); Marlins over Indians (1997); Diamondbacks over Yankees (2001); and Angels over Giants (2002).
Taking Games 6 and 7
The Cardinals are attempting to become the 19th team to come back from down 3-2 in the Fall Classic under the current seven-game format.
The last team to turn the trick was the 2002 Angels, who trailed the Giants 3-2 before taking both games back in Anaheim. The others include the 2001 Diamondbacks (over NYY); 1991 Twins (over ATL); 1987 Twins (over STL); 1986 Mets (over BOS); 1985 Royals (over STL); 1982 Cardinals (over MIL); 1979 Pirates (over BAL); 1973 Athletics (over NYM); 1968 Tigers (over STL); 1958 Yankees (over MIL); 1952 Yankees (over BRO); 1946 Cardinals (over BOS); 1940 Reds (over DET); 1934 Cardinals (over DET); 1926 Cardinals (over NYY); 1925 Pirates (over WSH); and 1924 Senators (over NYG).
St. Louis in seven
2011 marks the 11th time in franchise history that the Cardinals will play a Game 7 in the World Series, and the first time since 1987.
Of the previous 10 occasions, St. Louis has come out on top seven times, but has lost each of the last two. The three losses came in 1968 against Detroit, 1985 against Kansas City and 1987 against Minnesota.
Their seven Game 7 victories came in 1926 over the Yankees, 1931 over the Philadelphia Athletics, 1934 over the Tigers, 1946 over the Red Sox, 1964 over the Yankees, 1967 over the Red Sox and 1982 over the Brewers.
Thanks to MLB for the above research.