Red Sox errors allow Cardinals to tie World Series
Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) celebrates his sacrifice fly with shortstop Pete Kozma (38) who scored on the play and right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)
This much-anticipated World Series between two of baseball’s iconic franchises, is turning into something akin to the shirts against the skins at the company picnic.
A day after the St. Louis Cardinals kicked the ball around like a collection of bush-leaguers, the Boston Red Sox returned the favour in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night.
The Sox, leading 2-1, put on a comedy routine in the top of the seventh that cost them three runs, the lead and, ultimately, the game as St. Louis tied the Series at one win apiece with a 4-2 victory.
The teams now move on to St. Louis for Games 3, 4 and 5 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with all of North America asking the ages-old question made famous by Casey Stengel: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”
After the Cardinals made four errors and allowed three unearned runs in Game 1, the Bosox embarrassed themselves every bit as much during a St. Louis rally, largely engineered by Boston’s imprecision afield.
In the top of the seventh, leading by a run on David Ortiz’s two-run sixth-inning homer, the Red Sox lost their composure, committing two costly errors. After Allen Craig struck out leading off, David Freese walked and Jon Jay singled to end Lackey’s workday. Craig Breslow came on and promptly walked No. 9 hitter Daniel Descalso to load the bases.
Matt Carpenter then lofted a fly ball to left. Gomes caught it and tried to throw out Freese, who appeared to have left third early, at the plate. His throw was wide of the mark and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t hold on. Breslow, backing up the play, picked up the ball and threw to third to try to get Jay. The ball sailed high, then one-hopped into the seats. Not only did that error allow another run to score, it prevented the Red Sox from attempting an appeal on Freese at third once the ball had gone out of play.
“The leadoff walk starts to get things going for them,” said Boston manager John Farrell. “After the base hit to Jay, felt like we were in a pretty good situation for a matchup. And then, unfortunately, the walk and the errant throw. That’s the one in looking back, I’m sure Craig would like to have that ball back and hold it with a chance to shut down the inning right there.
“We give them the run. And then (Carlos) Beltran, who we wanted to hit from the right side of the plate with a 3‑1 pitch, adds an insurance run to it. Uncharacteristic of the way I think we’ve taken care of the baseball this year. And it contributed to the three runs.”
The Cardinals’ stunning young pitching talent, Michael Wacha, worked through six innings against the patient Boston lineup, allowing just two hits.
“I didn’t have my best stuff and I was a little bit wild,” Wacha said. “I just tried to pitch to contact and the guys behind me made some big plays.”
He did give up the Ortiz go-ahead homer, but he earned the win to go 4-0 in this post-season run on the strength of the St. Louis rally in the top of the seventh.
“The kid continues to impress,” marvelled Cards manager Mike Matheny. “I don’t know what else you could ask. Put him on any stage and he does a real nice job of limiting distractions.”
Lackey became the hard-luck loser for Boston. He gave up five hits and was charged with three runs, two of which scored when the Red Sox defence imploded in the seventh.
Through the first three innings, Lackey and Wacha threw up matching zeros. Lackey worked around a couple of singles, one in the first and another in the second. Wacha, working with just his fastball and changeup kept the Red Sox hitless until Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-out broken-bat single in the third.
Matt Holliday changed the dynamic of the game when he led off the St. Louis fourth with a booming triple into the centre-field triangle, the ball hitting the low bullpen wall and caroming back with Ellsbury in hot pursuit.
Pedroia then made a shoestring catch of a hot line drive by Matt Adams, keeping Holliday at third. Molina then hit a high hopper over Lackey’s head. Pedroia charged the ball but had no shot at Holliday at the plate and took the out at first, as the Cards took a 1-0 lead.
The Red Sox threatened in the bottom of that inning when Pedroia led off with a double. He was joined by Ortiz when Wacha, pitching carefully, walked the big slugger.
That paid off when Mike Napoli hit into a 6-4-3 double play, allowing Pedroia to go to third. He was stranded there when Jonny Gomes popped out to second baseman Carpenter.
In the bottom of the seventh, with Wacha approached 100 pitches, he got Shane Victorino to ground out to third base to lead off the inning. Pedroia worked him for a walk to bring Ortiz to the plate.
The Bosox slugger worked the count full against Wacha, then went the other way, hitting his second homer of the series and 17th of his post-season career, this time into the monster seats in left to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
“I left that changeup up in the zone and he got it,” said Wacha. “I was really angry at myself for that pitch.”
That brought the crowd to its feet, only to be silenced by their team’s inept response on defence in the seventh.