Come October, players play through painSt. Louis Cardinals' Carlos Beltran runs after hitting a single off Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey during the first inning of Game 2 of baseball's World Series Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
BOSTON (AP) -- Rookie Michael Wacha kept pitching like a postseason ace and John Lackey matched him, leaving the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox scoreless through three innings Thursday night in Game 2 of the World Series.
A day after the Red Sox romped past the sloppy Cardinals 8-1, this one was tight at the start as Boston tried for its 10th straight Series win and a commanding lead.
At 22, Wacha came as advertised. He pitched well beyond his years - and in October, of all things.
The right-hander flashed a 95 mph fastball and a diving changeup while holding Boston hitless until Jacoby Ellsbury's broken-bat bloop single with two outs in the third.
No one in the Boston lineup had ever hit against Wacha and it showed, as the Red Sox struck out four times and took a lot of weak, awkward swings.
The Cardinals had seen this already from Wacha, even though he made only nine regular-season starts. He began the night with a 3-0 record in three postseason starts, allowing just eight hits while striking out 22.
Wacha had his own cheering section at chilly Fenway Park, too. His mom, dad and younger sister bundled up in the stands after arriving from Texarkana, Texas.
Lackey worked around a pair of singles in blanking the Cardinals. He pitched a day after turning 35 - it was his first Series start since 2002 when, as a rookie for the Angels, he beat Barry Bonds and San Francisco in Game 7.
Carlos Beltran started for the Cardinals in right field, returning from an injury that forced him out of the opener. Beltran exited in the third inning and went to a hospital, shortly after bruising his ribs when he rammed into the short bullpen wall while taking away a grand slam from David Ortiz.
Both teams made changes to their lineups.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny benched shortstop Pete Kozma after making two errors in the opener and put Daniel Descalso in his place. Jarrod Saltalamacchia replaced David Ross as Boston's catcher.
The teams are off Friday, and resume with Game 3 at Busch Stadium on Saturday night. Boston starter Jake Peavy makes his Series debut against Joe Kelly.