After a sloppy, subpar Game 1, the St. Louis Cardinals fought back to nab a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of the World Series.
This time, it was the Boston Red Sox whose defense let them down.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, the Cardinals appeared to tie the game on an RBI sacrifice fly by Matt Carpenter. Boston’s Jonny Gomes tried to throw out the runner from left field, a throw which catcher Jarrod Saltalamcchia couldn’t handle. Relief pitcher Craig Breslow then picked up the ball and tried to throw Jon Jay out at third.
Breslow’s throw sailed over the infield and into the left-field stands and Jay came home, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI single, ending Breslow’s nightmare of a night.
The three-run inning for St. Louis came shortly after Boston slugger David Ortiz delivered another huge postseason home run. Ortiz blasted an opposite-field, two-run homer off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Boston a 2-1 lead.
Fenway erupted into cheers and chants of “Papi! Papi!”, but the elation only lasted a half-inning.
Tonight’s game was critical for St. Louis. Teams that take a 2-0 lead to start the World Series have gone on to win the series 41 of 51 times.
St. Louis took their first lead of the series 1-0 in the fourth inning after a Matt Holliday triple and groundout produced a run. It was the the first time in six World Series games against Boston stretching back to 2004 that St. Louis was beating the Red Sox.
But Dustin Pedroia, who made a few sensational defensive plays early in the game, led off the sixth with a walk. On Wacha’s 103rd pitch, Ortiz lofted the ball into the Green Monster seats to put Boston ahead.
Wacha came into the game with a 4-0 record and a microscopic 0.30 ERA in his last four starts. He lasted six innings against the Red Sox, surrendering two runs, three hits and four walks.
Starting pitcher John Lackey was sensational through the first six innings, but manager John Farrell pulled him after he surrendered a one-out walk and base hit in the seventh.
That’s when Breslow came in and walked Daniel Descalso. Then, the sacrifice fly and error, and suddenly St. Louis had the lead.
St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth inning, securing the Cardinals’ win.
Stretching back to 2004, the Red Sox had won nine straight World Series games, five short of the all-time record (New York Yankees, 1996-2000).
They’ll look to start a new streak Saturday in Game 3.