The Boston Red Sox are one win away from clinching their eighth world championship thanks to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Ace left-hander Jon Lester did the heavy lifting on the mound, while journeyman backup catcher David Ross knocked home the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the seventh.
The Red Sox will head home looking to wrap the series up on Wednesday night.
Jon Lester backed up 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He was incredibly efficient, needing only 89 pitches to record the 23 outs. He struck out seven, allowed four hits and recovered one paper airplane.
Making his second consecutive start behind the plate for Boston, David Ross came through with the big seventh inning double. Earlier in the game, Ross snapped an 0 for 44 streak by the Red Sox 7-8-9 hitters with a fifth inning single. The streak dated back to Game 1, and Red Sox pitchers only accounted for three of those outs. His production was a big pick-me-up for Boston.
Though St. Louis pitching managed to retire David Ortiz once, he still collected three hits and got the Red Sox on the board first with an RBI double in the first inning.
Matt Holliday continued his big postseason with his fourth home run. The solo blast tied the game at one in the fourth.
Adam Wainwright was pretty sharp most of the game, recording 10 strikeouts over seven innings. He just ran into a little trouble named David Ortiz in the first, and then had things unravel a bit as Boston struck for two decisive runs in the seventh. It's his first loss in nine postseason appearances at home.
The Cardinals lineup changes didn't bear fruit in Game 5. Shane Robinson and Allen Craig were a combined 0 for 6.
David Ross' double stood as the game-winner, so it's impossible to argue against that being the key play. But you could point to Xander Bogaerts' single leading off the inning and even Stephen Drew's walk that followed. Drew is mired in a 4 for 49 slump, so any offensive contribution from his spot is a major plus for the Red Sox.
Last #Cardinals pitcher w a double-figure strikeout game in a World Series before this: Guess who? Bob Gibson, of course, in Game 4, 1968.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 29, 2013
• David Ortiz tied Billy Hatcher's World Series record by reaching base safely in nine straight plate appearances.
• Matt Holliday has three World Series home runs against the Red Sox as a member of the Cardinals and Rockies. That's tied for the most against them in World Series play.
• The magnificent performance of Jon Lester.
• The broken bat topic may pop up again after Daniel Nava was struck in the neck by a shard from his own bat.
• Why did Mike Matheny allow Pete Kozma to hit for himself representing the tying run in the eighth?
The Red Sox have a chance to pop the champagne in front of the Boston fans on Wednesday night. But first they'll have to do something no one has been able to do this postseason, and that's beat Michael Wacha. John Farrell will counter with veteran John Lackey.
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