Bullpen wrap: Neftali Feliz turns up heat

ST. LOUIS -- Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz didn't get a chance to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series, so when the second-year closer made his appearance in the ninth his first pitch sailed high and registered 100 mph.

Just a bit amped up.

Feliz ended up walking the lead-off man, Yadier Molina, and sold-out Busch Stadium roared with renewed hope after the Rangers had erased a 1-0 deficit in the top of the ninth to take a 2-1 lead.

"I wasn't worried at all," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I know I missed the spots, so what I concerned myself with was trying to hit my spots and do a better job."

Nick Punto, who had singled twice in Game 2, came up next with orders to sacrifice bunt. Punto fouled the first pitch, a high fastball that probably would have been a ball. Punto failed to get his second attempt down off another fastball and likely another ball, foul for an 0-2 count. Punto had no chance on a swing-and-miss for strike three that just might have been ball three.

"When I knew that Punto was up to bunt, I was trying to throw the two-seamer outside to make it a foul," Feliz said. "Otherwise, I wanted him to just hit a ground ball to make the out."

Punto failed to move the runner and suddenly Feliz had seized the advantage.

Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker valiantly got a piece of three Feliz fastballs, 97, 98 and 99 mph, before swinging through a 98 mph fastball for the second out. With Molina still stuck at first, Rafael Furcal stepped up as the Cards' last hope.

He fouled off two fastballs, took two fastballs for balls and then sailed a 97 mph heater to right field. Nelson Cruz squeezed it and the Rangers, who led for one inning in the first two games, were headed home with a split.

All in all, Feliz threw 19 pitches and 19 fastballs.

Where Alexi Ogando has suddenly lost his magic touch, the Rangers' closer is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities.