The World Series is back to even after the Boston Red Sox walked away with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4. Jonny Gomes, who wasn't even in the Red Sox original starting lineup, replaced an injured Shane Victorino and delivered the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning.
Jonny Gomes came into the game hitting .125 with two RBIs this postseason. In one swing, that all became irrelevant.
We knew Clay Buchholz wasn't 100% coming in and wondered out loud if it was a wise decision to let him take the ball in such an important game. Credit where it's due, with a fastball sitting at 86-87 mph — noticeably below his 91 mph season average — and little command, Buchholz not only battled, but survived, giving John Farrell four innings of one-run ball. There's no other way to describe his performance aside from gutsy.
David Ortiz split his duties between professional slugger and motivational speaker in Game 4. Following his fifth inning double, Ortiz was shown yelling and gesturing towards his teammates in the dugout. Then, before the Red Sox broke loose in the sixth, he huddled his teammates for an apparent Hunter Pence like motivational speech. Whatever he said clearly worked, and Ortiz himself even contributed to the rally with a two-out walk. He finished 3 for 3 and raised his series average to .727.
Felix Doubront followed two shutout innings of relief in Game 3 by retiring the first eight batters he faced in Game 4.
John Lackey pitched a scoreless eighth in his first relief appearance since June 27, 2004.
Cardinals reliever Seth Maness was barely warmed up when Gomes greeted him with the three-run homer. A rough assignment with a worse result for the rookie right-hander.
David Freese had multiple chances to regain postseason hero status, but finished 0 for 4 with four runners left on base. He's 1 for 12 with three walks in the World Series.
Pinch-runner Kolten Wong was picked off first base to end the game.
Craig Breslow's lousy series continued. He only faced two batters in Game 4, but allowed an RBI single to Matt Carpenter followed by a walk to Carlos Beltran. In the series, he's faced seven batters and only retired one over three appearances.
Every out Clay Buchholz recorded was critical for Boston as the series continues on, but Junichi Tazawa getting Matt Holliday to ground out representing the go-ahead run in the seventh inning really sealed the win.
• The Cardinals are now 8-1 when scoring first in the postseason.
• The Red Sox are the first team to commit an error in each of first four games of World Series since the 2008 Rays. Boston has seven errors in total.
• Stephen Drew snapped a streak of 11 straight postseason starts without an RBI.
• David Ortiz's motivational speech in the dugout.
• Another close call at second base as Stephen Drew’s backhand glove flip pulled Dustin Pedroia off the bag on a potential double play. Pedroia did appear to get his foot back down, and the Red Sox got the call, but it was worth a discussion.
• Will the bottom of the Cardinals order, specifically David Freese, get it turned around?
It's a best of three series now with Game 5 coming our way Monday night from Busch Stadium. Game 1 starters Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright are both scheduled to return for the pivotal matchup.
- - - - - - -