World Series Reset: How Red Sox vs. Cardinals became best of three
The World Series is essentially a best-of-3 series now that the Cardinals and Red Sox have split the first four games. Let's recap how they got here.
I mentioned this Sunday night but I think it's worth repeating: This has been one of the most memorable yet most sloppily played World Series in recent history. Each game has been more entertaining than the last and through the first four, the Red Sox and Cardinals are tied at two wins apiece. They're down to a best-of-3 series to determine the title.
How did the two teams get to this point? Let's take a second to recap the first four games of the Fall Classic.
Thanks to some sketchy defense -- most notably Pete Kozma's botched double-play pivot -- the Red Sox built an early 5-0 lead over Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Waino didn't help matters, allowing six hits and one walk while throwing 95 pitches in only five innings of work. He labored and his defense didn't help him out any. St. Louis scored a token run on Matt Holliday's ninth-inning solo homer. Jon Lester was masterful for 7 2/3 innings.
Boston was sitting on a 2-1 lead with eight outs to go, putting the Red Sox in position to take a 2-0 series lead, but a Craig Breslow meltdown capped by a throwing error allowed the Cardinals to take the lead and ultimately win the game. Breslow simply threw the ball into left field trying to cut Jon Jay down at third base as he advanced on the throw home on Matt Carpenter's game-tying sac fly. Starters Michael Wacha (three runs in six innings) and John Lackey (three runs in 6 1/3 innings) both pitched well but the St. Louis bullpen was better. Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal combined for six strikeouts and one hit allowed in three innings.
Game 3 has been the only true back-and-forth affair of the World Series so far. The Cardinals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, then the Red Sox tied it in the middle innings. The Cardinals took a 4-2 lead in the seventh, then the Red Sox tied it in the eighth. A sketchy start by Jake Peavy and another Breslow meltdown did the damage for Boston while Martinez and Rosenthal got together to blow that lead in the eighth.
The Cardinals set themselves up for a walk-off win in the ninth when Yadier Molina singled and moved to third on Allen Craig's pinch-hit double. Dustin Pedroia made a spectacular diving stop with the infield in to cut Molina down at the plate, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw to third trying to get Craig advancing on the play. The throw went into left field and Craig tripped over third baseman Will Middlebrooks on his way to plate, resulting in the obstruction call to end the game. It's not something we see very often but the rulebook is black and white. The right call was made and the Cardinals walked off with a win.
Even though Clay Buchholz showed less than stellar stuff coming off a shoulder problem, he held the Cardinals to one run in four innings before turning things over to bullpen hero Felix Doubront. The lefty chucked 2 2/3 scoreless and nearly perfect innings. The score was tied 1-1 in the sixth inning when Seth Maness hung a sinker to Jonny Gomes that landed out in the bullpen for a three-run homer.
St. Louis tried to claw its way back into the game in the late innings, cutting the Red Sox lead to 4-2 in the seventh before stranding Molina at third in the eighth. Craig singled -- he really doubled, but his foot is banged up and he can't run -- in the ninth to bring Carlos Beltran to the plate as the tying run with two outs. He never got a chance to hit because pinch-runner Kolten Wong slipped and was picked off first base. Rough way for the Cardinals to end the game and see the series get tied up at two apiece.
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