Red Sox - 000 011 020 - 4 6 2 Cardinals - 200 000 201 - 5 12 0St. Louis won this pivotal game on a throwing error by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and an interference call against third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox had fought back to tie the game twice, having been down 2-0 and 4-2.
Brandon Workman started the ninth inning by striking out Matt Adams. Workman feel behind Yadier Molina 3-0, fought back to a full count, then gave up a bloop single to right-center. Manager John Farrell called on Koji Uehara. Pinch-hitter Allen Craig jumped on Uehara's first pitch and doubled down the left field line. Molina - the potential winning run - was held at third. Jon Jay grounded an 0-1 to the right side. Dustin Pedroia, with the infield in, dove to his right, popped up and fired home. Saltalamacchia tagged out Molina, then made an ill-advised peg to third to nab Craig. The throw was wild and Middlebrooks, after diving for the ball, interfered with Craig. Daniel Nava chased down the errant throw and fired the ball home. The ball beat Craig to the plate, but the umpires had already made the interference call, ending the game.
After the game, the umpires explained the call. ... SoSH thread here, with a gif that shows Craig pushing Middlebrooks down to the ground.
The inning followed a questionable decision by Farrell (one of several in the game) to let Workman bat for himself with one out in the top of the ninth. Farrell was perhaps hoping to get a clean ninth inning from Workman, but was set to pull him for Uehara if he allowed anyone to reach base. That is exactly what happened, but Koji did not get the breaks.
The obstruction call ruined any chance at what could have been a huge victory for the Red Sox, coming back against the top arm of the St. Louis bullpen, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal.
Peavy (4-6-2-1-4, 64) had a very rough beginning. Four of the first five Cardinals were aggressive in the count and hit line drive singles; the lone non-single was a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Beltran on a 3-1 count. Strange. But Peavy got out of the inning with only two runs allowed.
He showed some mettle in the fourth, working out of a bases-loaded-no-outs jam. Yadier Molina singled softly to center and David Freese walked. When Jon Jay singled to center, Ellsbury threw in to second base, giving St. Louis a run. But Molina inexplicably had stopped at third base. When Peavy wiggled out of trouble - getting a strikeout and two popups - it seemed like that mental error might play a significant part in the game.
Felix Doubront relieved Peavy and he also got out of a slight pickle in the fifth. Adams had doubled with two outs and the Red Sox elected to intentionally walk Molina. Doubront threw what should have been four called strikes, but home plate umpire Dana DeMuth - the man who blew the call at second base the other night and who had both teams angry at him with his lava-lamp strike zone tonight - called only two of the four pitches strikes. Having to battle the umpire as well as the opposing team, Doubront finally got Freese to fly out to right.
On the other side, Kelly retired the first nine Boston batters. He allowed a hit and a walk in the fourth, but stranded both runners. Xander Bogaerts began the fifth with a triple to right-center that skipped by the gimpy Beltran. XB eventually scored on pinch-hitter Mike Carp's fielder's choice.
Boston tied the game in the sixth. Shane Victorino walked (and the Cardinals were chirping on two borderline calls during this at-bat). Pedroia lined out to third and Ortiz singled off LOOGY Randy Choate, sending Victorino to third. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny then made a curious decision. He pulled Choate and brought in right-hander Seth Maness. That allowed Daniel Nava to bat from his stronger side; in 2013, Nava had an OPS 250 points higher from the left side, hitting .322/.411/.484 against RHP and .252/.311/.336 against LHP. Maness's first pitch to Nava was lined to left field for a game-tying single. Bogaerts then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Farrell made another questionable decision when he pinch-hit for Doubront with two outs and the bases clean in the seventh inning. Jonny Gomes flew out to center and Doubront was gone from the game after only two innings and 25 pitches. Craig Breslow started the bottom of the seventh by allowing an infield hit to Matt Carpenter (Ortiz couldn't handle Bogaerts's slightly wild throw) and grazing Beltran's elbow pad with a pitch. Junichi Tazawa came in and was hit for a two-run double that Middlebrooks could not get a glove on down the left field line. The Cardinals led 4-2 with a man on third and no outs. Tazawa bore down and did not let than critical fifth run score, striking out Adams and Molina, walking Freese and getting Jay on a fly out to center.
Right after that, Boston re-tied the game. Facing Martinez, Ellsbury singled up the middle and Victorino was (really) hit by a pitch. The runners moved up to second and third on Pedroia's groundout. Ortiz was walked intentionally to load the bases - and Rosenthal came in. Nava grounded an 0-2 pitch to Kolten Wong at second base (he had just come in via a double switch with Rosenthal). Wong made the flip to shortstop for one out, but the relay was late and Ellsbury scored. Then Bogaerts, facing 99 mph fastballs, singled on a high chopper up the middle that found its way to center; Victorino scored and the game was knotted at 4-4. With a chance to take the lead, Saltalamcchia was horribly overmatched and grounded to second.
Workman pitched the eighth, allowing a single to Wong and eventually walking Beltran intentionally after Wong stole second. The inning ended when Matt Holliday flied to left. In the top of the ninth, Rosenthal retired the Sox in order, with two strikeouts and a grounder.
Boston will need a strong start from Clay Buchholz on Sunday night.
Jake Peavy / Joe Kelly
Ellsbury, CFPeavy lasted only three innings in Game 4 of the ALCS and gave up seven runs to the Tigers. He says he's ready to go in this pivotal Game 3.
Let's not sugarcoat anything, this is the biggest game up until this point in time that I've ever pitched. We'd be silly to sit here and say otherwise. ... And so to go out in a World Series game and have a chance to sway the odds, the favor, in your direction, on the road, against a team that's got some momentum with a big win at our place? Of course, this is the biggest start in my career.Can Kelly maintain his exceptionally high strand rate, or is his luck about to run out?
The Herald's John Tomase says John Farrell needs to shake up the lineup. Stephen Drew is 4-for-42 (.095) in the entire postseason and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in a 3-for-22 slump. ... David Ortiz will be at first base tonight, with Mike Napoli beginning the evening on the bench. Daniel Nava will play left in St. Louis' larger outfield, in place of Jonny Gomes (3-for-23 in the ALCS/WS). ... Jayson Stark says you would have to be insane to bench Ortiz in October. ... Is Flo the real Mr. October?
Michael Silverman has the annual look at how ludicrous it is for the Red Sox and Cardinals to play by two sets of rules in the most meaningful games of the season. ... Boston has a much stronger bench than the Cardinals do.
Clay Buchholz will start Game 4. He threw from as far as 100 feet off flat ground yesterday. Pitching coach Juan Nieves characterized Buchholz's session as "excellent", though catcher David Ross said, "We're going to do the best we can with what we've got." ... Fully healthy or not, we know Buchholz will work slowly. ... Felix Doubront has also been throwing in case he is needed; he has not started a game since September 22.