Thursday, October 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON -- Turns out former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, World Series Class of 2004, was guilty of a little rhetorical overkill Thursday night when he described the 2013 edition of the Red Sox as a "wolf pack."
"That's how I describe the whole team, like a wolf pack," he said in a pregame interview session with ex-teammates Trot Nixon and Derek Lowe. "They draw a plan to kill and to feed everybody."
Lowe felt compelled to interrupt. "What are we talking about again right now?" he said. "You got me lost. You started talking about kill."
Predator and prey? The 109th World Series is not quite that simple, as the St. Louis Cardinals demonstrated when they weathered the thunderclap of another dramatic David Ortiz home run and rallied for a 4-2 victory over the home team. The Cardinals may have been bloodied by the Sox but emerged very much alive, tying the Series at a game apiece with the next three games at home in Busch Stadium.
Down 2-1 after Ortiz drove a full-count changeup to left field for an opposite-field two-run home run off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in the sixth inning, the Cardinals rebounded with three runs in the seventh, exploiting a pair of Sox errors on the same play to take the lead.
With the bases loaded and one out, Matt Carpenter lifted a fly ball to medium left field, where Jonny Gomes made the catch and launched a strong throw to the plate in an attempt to catch pinch runner Pete Kozma. Gomes' throw, however, was to the first-base side of the plate, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia permitted the ball to strike his glove and dribble a few feet away. Jon Jay, who had retreated to second, broke for third when he saw the ball roll free. Sox reliever Craig Breslow picked up the loose ball and threw toward third, but his throw sailed into the field boxes, allowing Jay to score the go-ahead run.
Carlos Beltran, playing with bruised ribs, then lined a single to right to make it 4-2.
The Cardinals' vaunted bullpen did the rest. Carlos Martinez threw two scoreless innings, striking out three, and rookie closer Trevor Rosenthal blew out the Sox in the bottom of the ninth with an awe-inspiring display of power pitching, striking out Gomes, Saltalamacchia and pinch-hitter Daniel Nava in succession, on fastballs that were gauged at 98 mph, 99 mph and 99 mph respectively.
Luckless Lackey: Sox starter John Lackey had held the Cardinals to a run through the first six innings, the Cardinals scoring in the fourth on a triple by Matt Holliday and an infield out by Yadier Molina.
It was the first time the Cardinals had led a Series game against the Sox since 1967. Boston had jumped ahead in all four games of their 2004 sweep and in Wednesday's 8-1 win in Game 1.
Lackey was lifted after issuing a walk to David Freese and a line single to Jay.
Busted Breslow: The Sox left-hander had not allowed a run in seven previous postseason appearances, but walked left-handed hitting Daniel Descalso to load the bases after replacing Lackey, before his own error led to his demise. The Cardinals also executed a double steal with Descalso at the plate.
Wicked Wacha: The Cardinals rookie coolly kept the Sox in check despite four walks and a climbing pitch count, holding them scoreless until Dustin Pedroia drew a one-out walk and Ortiz hit his fifth home run of the postseason, tying a club record he shared previously with Todd Walker (2003).
The Sox threatened in the fourth when Pedroia doubled and Ortiz walked, but Mike Napoli grounded into a double play and Gomes popped out.
Martinez magic: Carlos, not Pedro. The Red Sox put two runners on in the eighth on an infield error and David Ortiz single, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny stuck with Martinez, and he retired Napoli on a popup.
Head count: 38,436.