ST. LOUIS (AP) - A look at Game 5 of the World Series at Busch Stadium on Monday night as the Boston Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals:
GOOD STUFF: Score tied 1-all after six innings, Series tied at two games apiece.
Sure, there’s been some sloppy play at key moments in this matchup. But between the crazy endings, controversial calls and clutch hits, this World Series has been anything but boring.
CHANGE OF PACE: Looking for any way he can to get David Ortiz out, Adam Wainwright varies his delivery and tempo during Big Papi’s sixth-inning at-bat.
Ortiz hits a line drive pretty deep to center, but Shane Robinson is there to make the catch. That ends Ortiz’s run of reaching base safely in nine straight plate appearances.
The Red Sox slugger has swung at the first pitch all three times up tonight.
TIED UP: Matt Holliday homers to center field in the fourth inning for the Cardinals, tying the score at 1.
Carlos Beltran followed with a long drive to left-center _ off the bat, thought that ball was gone, too. But it was caught by Jonny Gomes just in front of the fence.
Maybe those bruised ribs have diminished Beltran’s power just a bit, because it sure looked as though he got all of that one.
Yadier Molina then ripped a line drive that was snared by a leaping Stephen Drew at shortstop. Terrific play.
Jon Lester lucky to get out of that inning with only one run on the board for the Cardinals, who seemed to solve him pretty quickly.
ALMOST FAMOUS: The slumping Drew nearly went yard with a runner on for Boston in the fifth, but his drive was caught at the wall, too.
Moments later, Red Sox funny man David Ross singled, turned to his first base coach and said, “Nice to meet you.” Good line caught on audio and relayed to viewers by Fox broadcasters.
It was Ross’ second hit in 10 World Series at-bats.
CAN’T GET HIM OUT: David Ortiz singles in the fourth to make him 10 for 13 (.769) with four walks in the Series.
Ortiz has reached base safely in nine consecutive plate appearances, tying the World Series record set by Billy Hatcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 1990.
FINDING HIS STROKE? David Freese grounded a leadoff single up the middle in the third, perhaps a good sign for St. Louis. The hometown favorite entered 1 for 12 in the Series and 8 for 49 (.163) in the postseason. He’s left a bunch of guys on base, too.
LARGE FATHER: Boston breaks out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Ortiz _ who else? Big Papi has six RBIs in the Series.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright hung an 0-2 curve to Dustin Pedroia, who lashed a double to left field. Ortiz hit a hard grounder on the next pitch just inside first base.
Wainwright prevented further damage and then looked very sharp in the second inning, striking out all three batters. In fact, his first six outs came on strikeouts _ including five in a row.
Jon Lester could have been number six, but the Boston pitcher actually made contact on a dribbler that was scooped up by catcher Yadier Molina.
As a hitter, Lester is 0 for 31 with 19 strikeouts in his regular-season career.
ON THE BAG: Allen Craig started at first base for St. Louis, his first time playing defense since Sept. 4.
Craig returned from a sprained left foot in this Series, but had only seen time as the DH in Boston and a pinch-hitter in St. Louis. He definitely appeared to have a hard time running the past two nights.
By starting Craig at first base, the Cardinals put another right-handed bat in the lineup against lefty Jon Lester. Rookie slugger Matt Adams, who bats left-handed, was on the bench.
Craig batted sixth and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the second.
Shane Robinson started in center field against the lefty instead of Jon Jay. Robinson batted second and Beltran moved down to cleanup.
REMATCH: Wonder what kind of crazy finish we’ll get tonight in a pivotal Game 5.
With the best-of-seven Series tied at two games apiece and headed back to Boston after this one, it’s Jon Lester on the mound for the Red Sox against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.
Rematch of Game 1, won by Boston in an 8-1 rout. Expect a better outing from Wainwright this time, especially at home.
The Red Sox don’t really have that elite, Cy Young Award ace that several other playoff teams rely on. Lester, however, is the closest thing to it for Boston. And he’s been at his best on the brightest stage.
The left-hander has not allowed a run in two career World Series starts, both wins. He pitched 5 2-3 innings in the 2007 clincher against Colorado and 7 2-3 innings to beat Wainwright in this year’s opener.
Overall, he’s 5-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 12 career postseason games, including 10 starts.
A strange-looking substance in Lester’s glove drew attention after Game 1, but he and the Red Sox insisted it was simply legal rosin.
The temperature at Busch Stadium is a very comfortable 61 degrees, and we’re underway.
PROTECTING BIG PAPI: Shane Victorino was out of Boston’s starting lineup again, replaced in right field by Daniel Nava.
Victorino was scratched from Game 4 on Sunday night because of lower back stiffness. His replacement in the batting order, Jonny Gomes, hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in a 4-2 win.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Victorino was “much improved” from Sunday and “probably could have started today, so he’s available at full capacity.”
Farrell shuffled the lineup a bit, with Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Gomes each moving up a spot. Pedroia batted second, Ortiz third and Gomes at cleanup. Nava was dropped from second to fifth.
“I feel like we need to lengthen out the lineup behind David,” Farrell said. “We haven’t really put together many big innings, and that’s a credit to their pitching. We feel the more we can lengthen out and give ourselves chances up and down the lineup, that’s where we’re at today.”
Boston’s Nos. 7-9 hitters were 2 for 43 (.047) with two walks and three RBIs in the first four games of the Series.
With Lester on the mound, David Ross was behind the plate instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia again. Ross has usually been paired with Lester lately.
WHAT NEXT? Both teams buzzed about the weird endings the previous two nights, the first postseason games to end on an obstruction call and a pickoff.
“It has been a strange couple of games,” Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter said. “Baseball is a game that something you’ve never seen before can happen every day. I’ve been playing this game for a while, and there’s things that happen all the time that will be the first time that I’ve ever seen something like that happen. So that’s what makes this game great.”
Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman said anything in the postseason is new for him.
“We never made the playoffs in any of my years in the minor leagues,” he said.
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.