By Julian Linden
BOSTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The baseball gods were kinder to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday as the errors that cost them dearly in first game of the World Series came to their rescue in the second.
"The guys stayed aggressive today. That's the difference between yesterday and today," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after his side rallied to win Game Two 4-2, a day after he had said he was embarrassed by their 8-1 loss in Game One.
"You saw aggressiveness offensively. You saw guys taking charge, and the same thing with at-bats.
"It was not a tentative team, which we haven't been all year. So it was good to see them turn the page on that."
The second game at Fenway Park could have gone either way.
After losing Game One on the back of three errors, it was an ominous sign, before the seventh inning had a bit of everything.
The bizarre inning included two walks, a double steal and an error by Boston relief pitcher Craig Breslow that added up to three runs to the Cardinals.
With the series now switching to St. Louis for the next three games, the mood in the Cardinals camp has suddenly turned from despair to enthusiasm.
"We're excited to get home. I know everybody is," Matheny said. "Being able to take the World Series back to St. Louis and have our home fan base supporting us.
"I believe it is a momentum sport. I don't think there are statistics to back it, but I do know when we're able to turn that around, what our environment is inside our clubhouse and our dugout."
Matheny is right.
The numbers do slightly favour the Cardinals. This marks the 56th time the World Series has been tied at 1-1. The team that won Game Two has gone on to win the Fall Classic more times than the team that won Game One, but only just.
It's not just momentum though, it's also confidence.
The Cardinals have a young team, that includes 10 rookies. Among them is starting pitcher Michael Wacha, who extended his postseason record to 4-0 with Thursday's win.
In six innings, he gave up two runs - courtesy of Ortiz's 375-feet blast - on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
By his own admission it was not his best performance and he was down on himself but for a 22-year-old who was playing at college last year, it was a composed display.
"The kid continues to impress," Matheny said.
"I don't know what else you could ask. Put him on any stage and he does a real nice job of limiting distractions."
For a moment, Wacha thought he had let the team down by allowing Ortiz to put the Red Sox back in front, but not for long, and he now heads to St. Louis with a spring in his step.
"I made a mistake, 3-2 change-up up in the zone, and he (Ortiz) made me pay," Wacha said.
"I was pretty mad coming in, but Yadi (Molina) came up and was like, 'Don't worry. Just hold them here. We're going to score in the top of the 7th.'
"Sure enough we put up a big three spot.
"Everyone was starting to feel pretty good.
"Everyone came in, had all the confidence in the world that we were going to put up runs, and they really picked me up."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
- Sports & Recreation
- Michael Wacha
- David Ortiz