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Cardinals young pitchers overwhelm

10/25/2013

The World Series is now even at a game apiece after the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Boston Red Sox 4-2 in Game 2.

The Cardinals' young pitching staff combined to hold the Red Sox to four hits (Boston's second-fewest ever in a World Series game) and one of the Game 1 goats redeemed himself with some nifty baserunning.

Streakbusters

The Cardinals snapped the Red Sox's nine-game World Series winning streak, their five-game losing streak to the Red Sox in World Series games, and their run of four straight losses in Game 2 of a World Series. The Red Sox had won their three previous Game 2s.

Wacha great again

Michael Wacha allowed only two runs in six innings, earning his fourth win this postseason. He’s the seventh pitcher to win each of his first four postseason starts, the first since Mike Moore did so for the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and 1990.

With his scoreless first four innings, he had allowed one run in his first 25 postseason innings. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that only three other starting pitchers allowed no more than one run in their first 25 postseason innings -- Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Don Sutton.

Most Consecutive Scoreless IP
In Single Postseason by Rookie

Wacha is the first rookie starter to win four games in a single postseason. At age 22, he was the second-youngest Cardinals pitcher to start a World Series game, trailing only fellow 22-year-old Paul “Daffy" Dean (Dizzy Dean's brother) of the 1934 Cardinals.

The only blemish on Wacha's record was David Ortiz's opposite-field homer in the sixth inning. It was the first homer that Wacha has allowed with his changeup in his major league career.

The Red Sox did make Wacha work. He walked four hitters in Game 2, as many as he walked in 21 innings in his first three postseason starts combined.

But even with that, opponents are hitting only .122 against Wacha in his four postseason starts. Elias noted that the only pitcher with a lower opponents' batting average through his first four postseason starts was Blue Moon Odom (.120).

Key play: Double steal

The Cardinals took the lead in the top of the seventh inning with the help of a double steal by Pete Kozma and Jon Jay, which led to Kozma scoring on a sacrifice fly and Jay scoring on Craig Breslow's throwing error.

Kozma had only three stolen bases all season. He and Jay had pulled off a double steal in the National League Division Series against the Pirates, though that one had Jay stealing third and Kozma taking second.

Kozma has one career steal of third base in the regular season, but has two in postseason play (he had one last season against the Giants).

Martinez and Rosenthal bring the heat

Cardinals relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal combined to strike out six hitters in three scoreless innings to close the game out.

Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth inning, using 11 pitches thrown that ranged from 95.3 to 98.6 mph.

He's the second pitcher in World Series history to have a save of at least one inning pitched in which he struck out every batter he faced. The other wasn't that long ago: Sergio Romo for the Giants in last year's World Series clincher against the Tigers.

The three Cardinals pitchers threw 53 pitches clocked at 94 mph or faster in this game. The Red Sox were 2-for-12 against them with five strikeouts.

Happy Holliday

Matt Holliday tripled to lead off the fourth inning and scored the first run of the game for the Cardinals.

The last Cardinals player to triple in the World Series was David Freese in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. This was the two-run triple over the glove of Nelson Cruz that tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning. The Cardinals would win that series in seven games.

It was the first triple by a visiting player at Fenway Park in a World Series game since Ken Griffey Sr. had one in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Elias Note of the Night

This is the second time that a starting pitcher age 23 or younger earned a win and a relief pitcher age 23 or younger got the save in a World Series game.

It also happened in Game 3 of 1969 World Series by the Mets against the Orioles. Gary Gentry (23 years old) started and got the win and Nolan Ryan (22 years old) got the save in a game best remembered for two great catches by center fielder Tommie Agee.