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October 28, 2011

Napoli ready for Game 7; reflects on key Game 6 at-bats

Catcher Mike Napoli had X-rays taken on his left ankle, and they were negative. Napoli sprained his ankle in the fourth inning of Game 6, tripping over the second-base bag.

It didn’t seem to slow him down too much, although he had to adjust his stance slightly behind the plate.

“I’m fine,” said Napoli, who will get treatment early in the day on Friday.

As far as Game 7, Napoli said: “We’re not panicking. We’ve got to win a baseball game tomorrow.”

Napoli admitted that Game 6 was a tough loss for the Rangers, being a strike away from a World Series championship twice. But the Cardinals eventually pulled away for a walk-off victory in the 11th inning.

“We had it there, right in front of us, and lost,” Napoli said. “It was a tough loss, it hurts. But everyone is going to let it go, and come back tomorrow and have fun.”

Napoli went over a few of the game-deciding moments from his perspective.

* With two outs in the ninth and runners on first and second with David Freese at the plate, Napoli called for a fastball in from Neftali Feliz. At the time, the Rangers had a 7-5 lead, but Freese drilled a two-run triple off the right-field wall. “Feliz throws 98 mph, he just got the barrel to the ball,” Napoli said. “I’d take Feliz out there any day. We’ve got his back and hope the situation comes up again where he’s in there.”

* With two outs in the 10th and runners on first and third with Lance Berkman at the plate, Napoli looked for a cutter in. At the time, the Rangers had an 9-8 lead, but Berkman came through with an RBI single to tie the game 9-9. “In a perfect world, you’d like to get it in a little more but he’s a good hitter,” Napoli said. “He got enough bat on it to hit it in the outfield.”

* With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Napoli picked off Matt Holliday at third base. It proved to save a run, as Alexi Ogando issued consecutive walks. “Beltre gave me the sign,” Napoli said. “We’re always looking for that. Everybody is ready to back-pick and do that sort of thing. It was a big situation to get an out.”

-- Drew Davison

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