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Rangers close on first World Series

October 25, 2011 -- Updated 1541 GMT (2341 HKT)
Mike Napoli hits a two-run double to put the Rangers 4-2 up in game five of baseball's World Series.
Mike Napoli hits a two-run double to put the Rangers 4-2 up in game five of baseball's World Series.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Texas Rangers are one win away from a first World Series triumph
  • The Rangers won game five 4-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday
  • Mike Napoli hit a two-run double to hand the Rangers the win

(CNN) -- The Texas Rangers moved to within one win of the first World Series triumph in the franchise's 40-year history on Monday, after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 in game five of Major League Baseball's (MLB) Championship series.

The Rangers, beaten in last year's World Series by the San Francisco Giants, now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 after a second successive win at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

Mike Napoli hit a decisive two-run double for manager Ron Washington's Rangers in the bottom of the eighth inning to hand Texas a game-winning lead.

The Cardinals, 10-time winners of baseball's biggest prize, had the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings, but Tony La Russa's team squandered the opportunities on a night where they left a total of 12 men on base.

"My bullpen has been great for me," Washington told the Rangers' official website. "They executed pitches. They've been coming in and getting it done."

"We had a meltdown the other day, but other than that, they've been great. No matter who we call on, they have been coming in and getting the job done."

The Rangers' designated hitter Michael Young admitted the team was excited, but still focused on winning game six at the Cardinals' Busch Stadium on Wednesday.

"We're excited about it, but we'll take the same approach we always have," said Young. "We have a really hungry team, but it's professional in every sense of the word. Because of that, we'll be ready to roll on for game six.

"We'll be playing that game to win, like we always do. ... Obviously, we know the stakes right now, but we'll show up ready to compete and play our game."

The Cardinals task was made all the more difficult by a mix-up during the eighth inning, when La Russa made a telephone call to bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist to issue instructions.

La Russa, 67, had asked for relief pitchers Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte to start warming up, but Lilliquist had only summoned Rzepczynski.

A second phone call was then made where La Russa once more asked for Motte to begin his warm up, but Lilliquist misheard once again and summoned 24-year-old Lance Lynn.

La Russa had told reporters two days earlier that Lynn would not be used until at least game six, having thrown 47 pitches in Saturday's 16-7 loss in game three.

"It's just like any other park," said Lilliquist. "You get a bunch of people and it's loud and he wanted Motte going easy to back [Rzepczynski] up, and I thought I heard Lynn."

The result of the confusion was disastrous for the Cardinals, with Rzepczynski forced to pitch to Napoli, when La Russa had planned to use Motte, and the Rangers scoring the two game-winning runs.

If the Rangers fail to wrap up the fall classic on Wednesday, the series will conclude with game seven on Thursday.

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