The Ballpark in Arlington has played exactly as advertised, and the St. Louis Cardinals have managed to build their third five-run lead of the night, thanks to a 423-foot home run from Albert Pujols against the Texas Rangers' ALCS hero, Alexi Ogando. The score's 12-6 now, but just wait a moment—it's liable to change on the half-inning.
Pujols's home run, though, was no park-effect—he took a high-90s fastball up in the zone from Ogando and pulled it off the facade of the upper deck in left field. 423 feet doesn't seem far enough, in this case—it was one of the most impressive home runs of Albert Pujols's career, and one that silenced the crowd faster than any home run he's hit since Brad Lidge tested him in the NLCS in 2005. Lance Berkman's sacrifice fly drove in Matt Holliday one pitcher later to give the Cardinals their 12th run of the night, and their first six-run lead.
The Cardinals' major question going forward won't just be whether their bullpen can hold the six-run lead—it's whether their bullpen will be able to handle the increased workload of a three-game set at Arlington. Fernando Salas, who allowed three runs in an inning-plus, threw just 15 pitches and could go again Sunday, but Lance Lynn, at 30 pitches and counting, is done.
The Rangers have problems too—Scott Feldman threw 24 pitches in relief of Matt Harrison, while Alexi Ogando retired just one batter in 35 pitches of his own. Mike Gonzalez threw two pitches to get the Rangers out of their four-run sixth inning, while Octavio Dotel is warming up for the Cardinals.