John Lackey left in the 7th inning with a pair of runners on base, holding a 2-1 lead. Minutes after Craig Breslow came into the game to relieve him, the Boston Red Sox were trailing 4-2, and the St. Louis Cardinals were on their way to tying up the World Series at one game a piece Thursday night at Fenway Park.
The Cardinals were looking to rebound after a terrible loss in Game 1 of the series when Adam Wainwright was far off his game, the Red Sox rolled on to an 8-1 victory.
"You turn the page and you come back the next day and you fight, you try your best and you go out there and expect to win," St. Louis third baseman David Freese said. "Tonight was a big game for us. One-to-one feels good. Being down two games, I'm sure statistically that is a tough feat to come back from."
The game started out as a great pitchers duel early on with Lackey and rookie Michael Wacha going up against each other. Lackey was making his first World Series start since 2002, and Wacha was making the first World Series start of his career.
Neither pitcher seemed to be effected by the pressure, either. Both were on their game, setting down hitters, making this one of the quickest paced postseason games in a while.
Wacha and the Cardinals had the upper-hand early, taking a 1-0 lead on a ground out to the second baseman, scoring Matt Holliday, who had tripled off the wall in center field to kickoff the 4th inning.
St. Louis was able to hold the lead for a couple of innings before David Ortiz, who has been hotter than fire this postseason, launched a two-run homerun over The Monster off of Wacha to give the Sox a 2-1 advantage in the 6th.
Wacha rebounded to strike out Mike Napoli, then he induced a groundout from Johnny Gomes to end the frame. That would be all for Wacha, as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny lifted the 23-year-old after six innings, giving up just two runs on three hits, while walking four and striking out six.
"We didn't panic," Freese said, speaking of Ortiz's homerun. "Obviously, it was a tough blow, but we just came back in and said, 'Keep fighting, keep fighting. There is still a lot of game left.' We were fortunate to have a good inning after that."
He went toe-to-toe all night with the veteran Lackey, who exited the game after putting on a pair of hitters with one out in the 7th.
A big play in the 7th inning was a double steal orchestrated by St. Louis, with Pete Kozma and Jon Jay both advancing without a throw when the pitch from Breslow was mishandled at the plate by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
After the double steal, Breslow walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases, then a gave a sac-fly that would end up plating a pair of runs to give the Cards a 3-2 lead with the throw by Gomes got away from Saltalamacchia at the plate, the Breslow overthrow the throw to attempt getting out Jay going to third, bringing him home. Two errors were given on the play --one on Saltalamacchia and the other on Breslow.
"We were able to capitalize on a miscue of theirs tonight after they were able to capitalize on a couple of ours last night," Descalso said. "Baseball is a funny game. We played poorly last night and we made the mistakes, and we come out tonight and we play a lot better, and they were the ones that made a mistake that gave us some runs."
Carlos Beltran, who picked up two hits after leaving Game 1 with a right RBI contusion, making him a game-time decision for Game 2, singled to drive home Descalso, extending the lead to 4-2.
The Cardinals' bullpen did a great job at keeping the Sox quite, and the young flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal struck out the Boston hitters in order in the 9th to seal the victory, sending the series back to St. Louis for Game 3 Saturday.
"Tonight's game is more reflective of how we've played, especially of late," said general manager John Mozeliak. "A key double play. Wacha was outstanding. All these young guys just give you a chance to win, which is outstanding. I just think the key thing for us was to move on, and we did. Now going back to St. Louis 1-1, you feel like you're in a much better spot."
BY: / SENIOR COLUMNIST