Busch Stadium was still in frenzy when Freese opened the 11th with a leadoff shot over the center field wall off Mark Lowe. Freese thrust his arm in the air as he rounded first base, and the crowd was delirious.
"Just an incredible feeling, seeing all my teammates at the dish waiting for me," said Freese, whose shirt was torn off during the celebration.
Texas trudged off the field as Freese circled the bases, having been so close to that elusive title. Much earlier, team president Nolan Ryan was high-fiving friends in the stands as Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz opened the seventh with home runs that helped Texas take a 7-4 lead.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," Hamilton said. "We're just going to do everything we can to prepare. Guys are already talking about it. We're ready for Game 7. Shake it off and come back tomorrow. That's just our mentality. But it goes both ways. Seems like they had that mentality. too."
Allen Craig's solo homer in the eighth began the Cardinals' comeback. Jake Westbrook wound up with the win.
Hardly the ending anyone imagined in a game that started out with a bevy of errors and bobbles — none more surprising than the routine popup that Freese simply dropped at third base.
"I'm just glad I had a chance after I looked like an idiot on that popup," Freese said.
The Cardinals made it 4-all in the sixth when Alexi Ogando relieved starter Colby Lewis and walked Yadier Molina with the bases loaded.
Then came a key play — Napoli and Beltre teamed up to pick off Matt Holliday at third with the bases loaded.
With one out, Napoli zipped a throw to Beltre, who neatly used his cleat to block the diving Holliday from reaching the base. That also ended Holliday's night with a severely bruised right pinkie.
Texas wasn't quite out of trouble as Nick Punto walked to reload the bases. But Derek Holland, the star of Game 4 with shutout ball into the ninth inning, trotted in from the bullpen and retired Jon Jay on a comebacker.
Texas and St. Louis seemed tense early, as if they were trying too hard with so much at stake. Either that, or they looked like they were playing in the sloppy weather that forced Wednesday night's postponement.
Exacerbated by the errors, the teams seesawed through the early innings.
Texas did more damage in three batters against Jaime Garcia than it did in seven scoreless innings against him in Game 2, with Hamilton hitting an RBI single in the first.
St. Louis came out swinging at first pitches, and Berkman's two-run homer into the center field bleachers made it 2-1 in the bottom half. Ian Kinsler tied it in the Texas second with an RBI double. Garcia was pulled after the third in his shortest outing since June 2010.
Shaky in the field all year, St. Louis made two errors in a span of four batters in the fourth behind reliever Fernando Salas, equaling its mistake total for the Series.
The misplays continued in the Cards fourth when first baseman Michael Young made an errant throw to Lewis covering the base, letting Berkman reach. Molina's RBI grounder made it 3-all.
The next botch was Freese's drop and Young took advantage with an RBI double for a 4-3 lead.
NOTES: Texas was 0 for 11 with two outs and runners in scoring position in the Series until Kinsler's double. ... Berkman hit his first Series home run. He was moved up a spot to cleanup for this game. ... David Eckstein, MVP of the 2006 Series for St. Louis, threw out the first ball. ... 90-year-old Hall of Famer Stan Musial rode in on a golf cart during pregame festivities. ... The crowd of 47,325 was a record for 6-year-old Busch Stadium.