The Boston Red Sox rebounded from Saturday night's snafu with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series. The Series is now tied at 2-2. The win for the Red Sox guarantees a Game 6 back in Boston on Wednesday night.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz pitched only four innings, but was effective. The only run he gave up was unearned. The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the third on a single by Carlos Beltran which scored Matt Carpenter. The Redbirds second baseman singled and got into scoring position when Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury bobbled the ball.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn shut down the Sox through the first four innings only allowing a rare infield single to David Ortiz. However, the Sox would tie the game at 1-1 in the fifth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew. The Red Sox shortstop has been struggling at the plate, but his flyout was good enough.
Felix Doubront was brought in to replace Buchholz in the fifth and retired eight of the nine hitters he faced. It is the second night in a row Doubront has pitched and he has been very effective out of the bullpen.
In the sixth, Lynn would retire Ellsbury and Daniel Nava, but would give up a single to Dustin Pedroia and then walked Big Papi. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gave Lynn the hook and brought in rookie Seth Maness to face Jonny Gomes, who was not in the original starting lineup. Gomes was inserted into the lineup when Shane Victorino's back injury flared up on him. All Gomes did was crush a Maness fastball into the Red Sox bullpen over the left field fence to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
Unfortunately, Craig Breslow continues to struggle out of the bullpen. In the seventh, Breslow gave up a single to Carpenter which drove in pinch hitter Shane Robinson who doubled off Doubront. The Red Sox lead was cut to 4-2. Breslow then walked Beltran. Matt Holliday represented the go-ahead run. Sox manager John Farrell brought in Junichi Tazawa who got Holliday to ground out to Pedroia to end the inning.
John Lackey made his first relief appearance since 2004 and pitched the eighth. Yadier Molina reached on a throwing error by Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts. But the error did not hurt the Sox as Lackey was able to retire Jon Jay and David Freese to end the inning. Lackey will most likely start Game 6 on Wednesday night.
Sox closer Koji Uehara came in to pitch the ninth. At this point, my roommate Christopher is ready to go to bed. I implore him not to do so and tell him that he will upset the balance of the universe. He says he'll listen to the game on the radio. I tell him that if the Cardinals win the game it will be his fault. Christopher relents. I tell him that he only needs to stay up for a half inning.
Uehara begins the ninth by getting Daniel Decalso to ground out to Pedroia. Pinch hitter Allen Craig then hits a rocket over the head of Daniel Nava in right field. But because of his foot injury, Craig was held to a single. Craig was then removed for pinch runner Kolten Wong.
So Carpenter comes up to the plate representing the tying run. But Uehara gets Carpenter to pop out to Pedroia. Uehara still has to face Beltran though. Or does he? Uehara catches Wong off guard and picks him off first base to end the game. I guess you could say he was in the Wong place at the Wong time.
This has got to be the biggest pick off in World Series history since Mike Marshall picked off designated runner Herb Washington in Game 2 of the 1974 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's despite Vin Scully's warnings. For those who don't know, A's owner Charlie Finley signed Washington, a world class sprinter to do nothing but pinch run. Washington never had an at bat nor did he wear a glove in his two seasons with the A's. He ended his career with 33 stolen bases in 48 attempts. Despite this, the A's beat the Dodgers in five to win their third consecutive World Series. Herb Washington might not have had good baseball instincts, but he does have good business instincts as he made a fortune as the owner of many McDonald's franchises in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Back to the present. Christopher says, "This almost makes up for last night." I respond, "It does make up for last night. The Series is tied."
The Red Sox faced some obstacles in Game 4, but were not obstructed by them. Game 5 takes place on Monday night in St. Louis. It will be re-match of Game 1 with Jon Lester starting for the Sox and Adam Wainwright taking the mound for the Cardinals. Will Lester repeat his Game 1 performance which saw him toss 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Or will Wainwright pitch more like the man who won 19 games this season? Or maybe it will be a 10-9 slugfest? We'll know for sure in about 24 hours.