- St. Louis Cardinals beat Texas Rangers 3-2 in game one of the World Series
- A pinch-hit from Allen Craig secures win for Tony La Russa's team
- Cardinals' relief pitchers yield just one hit in final three innings after taking the lead
- Game two is on Thursday at the Cardinals' Busch Stadium
St. Louis Cardinals struck first in baseball's World Series on Wednesday, beating Texas Rangers 3-2 in game one courtesy of a pinch-hit from substitute batter Allen Craig.
The Cardinals, searching for their 11th success in Major League Baseball's seven-game championship series, owed much to five relief pitchers who yielded just one hit to the Rangers in three innings after taking the lead.
"I don't know what everyone else has been thinking about our team," Craig, who came in for starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, told the MLB website. "But we know what we can do. We've just got to come out and keep doing it."
Carpenter lasted six innings before being pulled for Craig, despite concerns over an elbow injury.
Third baseman David Freese scored the decisive run on a cold night at Busch Stadium after outfielder Craig hit a single in the bottom of the sixth innings off Rangers relief pitcher Alexi Ogando.
"When you get in the postseason, you have to win games in so many ways," Freese said after Tony La Russa's St. Louis secured a 31st win in 44 games.
"Not every game is going to be the same. Teams that win 90, 95, 100 games, they win ballgames different ways the entire year."
Rangers' starting pitcher C.J. Wilson was critical of his own form, after extending a run which has seen him lose the MLB All Star Game, game one of the American League division series and now the opener of the Fall Classic.
"It stinks. It stinks," the 30-year-old said. "I'm here to win. I'm not here to lose. I'm not here to give up runs. I don't work all year to have these negative press conferences afterwards."
St. Louis broke the deadlock of the World Series' 107th edition at the bottom of the fourth inning when Lance Berkman batted in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.
Texas leveled at the top of the fifth with a two-run homer from catcher Mike Napoli, but Freese came home for the victory when outfielder Nelson Cruz could not gather Craig's slice.
History is against the Rangers, who are searching for their first World Series success, with the last 10 winning teams in game one going on to clinch baseball's biggest prize.
Game two will take place in St. Louis on Thursday, before the series moves to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.