Game 2 for the birds: Cardinals dump Red Sox, 4-2
In Game 2, it was Boston’s turn to boot the ball around the old ballpark as two errors in the seventh inning proved to be enough for the Cardinals to down the Red Sox Thursday night at Fenway Park, 4-2.
With one out and the bases loaded in the seventh, Matt Carpenter slapped a sac fly to left. Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t handle the throw home from Jonny Gomes as the ball scooted by the catcher. Craig Breslow, who relieved John Lackey, was backing up Saltalamacchia. The lefty picked up the ball, attempted to pick off Jon Jay at third, but airmailed it over the head of the covering Stephen Drew. Jay scored on the error and the Cardinals held a 3-2 lead. Carlos Beltran tacked on another run with an RBI single to right off of Breslow to put the birds up, 4-2.
Neither team exactly put on an offensive display in this one as Lackey and Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha owned the first five innings of Thursday night’s contest.
David Ortiz did Wacha in the sixth, however. With the Sox down 1-0, Ortiz took a high change-up from Wacha and drove it, opposite field, into the Monster seats for a two-run homer. Wacha had just reached the century mark on his pitch count before allowing Ortiz to continue his October heroics.
Prior to that, Wacha was something close to unhittable. The youngster finished having pitched six innings, only giving up two earned runs on three hits. He struck out six and walked four.
The Red Sox did challenge a bit in the fourth as Dustin Pedroia doubled off the left field scoreboard. But Wacha got Mike Napoli to hit into a double play, which ultimately killed the Boston threat. Jacoby Ellsbury’s broken-bat, opposite field bloop single in the third gave the Red Sox their first hit against Wacha on the night.
Lackey was nearly Wacha’s equal, at least through the first five innings, as he allowed just three hits and one earned run while walking one and striking out four on 71 pitches through five. Breslow would come in for Lackey in the sixth and Lackey was charged with two more runs.
Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17 ERA) will start Game 3 for the Red Sox Saturday (8:07 p.m., FOX) in St. Louis and will face Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69 ERA). It will be Peavy’s first start since he was roughed up on Oct. 16 in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Tigers when he gave up seven earned runs in just three innings of action. Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) is expected to take the ball for the Red Sox in Game 4 against St. Louis’ Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97 ERA) on Sunday night (8:15 p.m., FOX).
What they’ll be saying: Boston’s nine-game World Series win streak was snapped Thursday and with it comes a bunch of questions going forward for the Sox. Can Jake Peavy rebound from his horrid ALCS start? Will Clay Buchholz be healthy enough to pitch in Game 4? Did the Red Sox bullpen finally show a crack with the way Craig Breslow performed? Will the Red Sox have enough fire-power in the lineup to win in St. Louis with either Mike Napoli or David Ortiz on the bench?
Just 24 hours after many were talking “sweep” in the Hub, there is now no doubt that the Cardinals can hang with the Red Sox. Through two games, it’s anyone’s World Series.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS