Red Sox must be better at the little things going forward in World Series

Craig Breslow Red Sox Cardinals
Craig Breslow, right, was charged with one of Boston’s two errors Thursday night. Credit: Getty Images

BOSTON — Over course of the Red Sox’ postseason run the main factors in their success have been their sound defense, exceptional relief pitching and clutch hitting in the late innings. Unfortunately for Boston Thursday night, it didn’t get any of the three in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series, knotting the best-of-seven series at one.

Things were looking up for the Red Sox in the sixth inning as they finally got to Cardinals starter Michael Wacha when David Ortiz hit a two-run homer into the Monster seats, putting the Sox ahead 2-1 at the time going into the seventh inning.

“Yeah, it was a good feeling getting the lead late in the game,” first baseman Mike Napoli said. “The bullpen has been so great, so we had all the confidence in the world.”

There was no reason not to have all the confidence in the world considering how well the Red Sox bullpen had been, allowing just four runs in 33 1/3 innings over the entire postseason, and how solid the defense has been. But both things did not hold true in the seventh inning.

Red Sox starter John Lackey started the inning by getting a strikeout, but then following a single to Jon Jay and a walk to David Freese, manager John Farrell went to his bullpen and called upon Craig Breslow. With Pete Kozma pinch-running for Freese, he and Jay executed a perfect double-steal, setting up second and third with one out. Breslow then walked Daniel Descalso, loading the bases for Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter flew out to shallow left, which allowed Jay to tag and score from third base, but left fielder Jonny Gomes’ throw to the plate got past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia where Breslow, backing up the play, bounced the ball into the stands when trying to get Kozma at third base. Kozma was awarded home and Descalso advanced to third. Saltalamacchia was charged with an error by letting the ball get by him and then Breslow an error for his poor throw.

“I think I definitely had a play there,” Breslow said of his poor throw. “Looking up I felt like it was definitely worth making the throw, but it wasn’t a good throw.”

With the Cardinals now leading 3-2 Carlos Beltran singled to score Descalso, ending Breslow’s night and making it a 4-2 Cardinal lead. Junichi Tazawa came on to retire Matt Holliday and end the inning.

“Uncharacteristic of the way I think we’ve taken care of the baseball this year and it contributed to the three runs,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the inning.

Entering the game the Red Sox defense had been phenomenal, only committing four errors over 11 games in the postseason and was seemingly able to get a key double play on cue. The team’s two errors Thursday, all on one play, certainly played a major role in the outcome.

The game was certainly not out of reach following the inning as the Red Sox had three more at-bats and they’ve had come-from-behind wins in the late innings all year long, but Thursday night they couldn’t find a way. As a team they went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on the night, leaving six men on base.

After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, they seemed to have something going with the top of the order as Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error to start the eighth, but Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia recorded back-to-back strikeouts before Ortiz singled to center setting up first and second with two outs for Napoli, but the slugger popped to shortstop to end the threat. The Sox then went down 1-2-3 in the ninth to allow the Cardinals to knot the series, 1-1.

In another tough luck game for John Lackey, he suffered the loss as he allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking two. Two of the three runs he allowed were inherited runs when Breslow came into the game. Lackey isn’t blaming anyone.

“Yeah, unfortunately I’ve had it happen a few times this year, so, yeah,” Lackey said. “(Breslow) has been awesome for us this year. I can’t wait to see him get back out there because he’s been so good for us and you can’t go wrong with putting that guy on the mound.”

The series now shifts to St. Louis beginning Saturday night for three games in the 2-3-2 format where the Red Sox will need to put Thursday night behind them and get back to doing the things that have gotten them this far.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…