Gomes blast sinks Cards
ST. LOUIS – When Boston manager John Farrell had to make a late lineup change, Jonny Gomes was the choice to replacement for Shane Victorino who was unable to start due to a bad back. That lineup change came up big in the sixth inning when Gomes hit a three-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen to break a 1-1 tie and give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead before eventually beating the Cardinals 4-2 in front of a record crowd at Busch Stadium.
“During the game last night, he started to tighten up a little bit,” Farrell said. “While he had a little bit of relief overnight, the work that we did early afternoon didn’t free him up enough to be able to go. … As we went through the other work, it became obvious he wasn’t capable and you know what, it turns out that his replacement is the difference in this one tonight with a three-run homer.”
The Cardinals got on the board first when Matt Carpenter singled in the third and took second on an error by Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran then picked up his second RBI of the series when he quickly plated Carpenter with a single of his own.
It was the ninth time the Cardinals had scored first during the post season. The previous eight times, the Cardinals had won.
Boston tied the game in the top of the fifth. David Ortiz double and Lance Lynn walked the next two batters to load the bases with no outs. Unlike St. Louis in Game 3, the Red Sox got the runner from third home with a sacrifice fly to left.
“I walked two guys there in the fifth I would have liked to have back,” Lynn said. “I thought I made some good pitches and they put together a couple of good at bats.”
That would be all the Red Sox got though, as Lynn got Davis Ross to strike out and then retired pinch hitter Mike Carp on a grounder to end the threat.
“That was pretty big,” Lynn said. “To get the bases loaded with no outs and only get one, that was pretty huge.”
Boston took the lead in the sixth when Gomes hammered relief pitcher Seth Maness for a two-out, three-run home run.
“Well, with Seth, he’s been a guy who’s been able to help us out and do an incredible job in that situation all season long,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “He’s been able to come in and get the big out when we needed it and we wanted to give him a shot. It just didn’t work out tonight.”
St. Louis got a run back in the bottom of the seventh. Shane Robinson doubled with two outs. Following a Boston pitching change, Carpenter singled to right allowing Robinson to score from second. After Craig Breslow walked Beltran to put runners at first and second, the Red Sox went to their pullpen again, bringing in Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals’ left fielder hit a weak grounder to second for the third out of the inning, stranding both runners. St. Louis had another scoring chance in the eighth when Molina reached second on an E8. After taking third on a wild pitch, Jay popped out and Freese grounded out to strand another runner.
In the bottom of the ninth, Allen Craig singled and was pinch run for by Kolten Wong. But with Beltran at the plate as the possible tying run, Wong was picked off first to end the game.
“Well, he knew we had meetings early on,” Matheny said. “We go over all these guys. We talk very clearly about a very good pickoff move. He was reminded once he got on base and also he was reminded that run didn’t mean much, be careful and shorten up. He slipped and the slip cost him.”
Beltran showed support for his rookie teammate after the loss.
“I feel bad for the kid,” Beltran said. “I know that he was trying to steal a base or put himself in a position where he could score and he ended up being picked off first base. It has to feel bad for him, but at the same time, I feel the best way for us to pick him up is being able to come in here tomorrow and getting a win.”
For the night, the Cardinals stranded eight runners on the base paths and 19 over the previous two games.
“As a hitter we want to come through in a situation like that,” Beltran said. “At the same time, they are getting us out. There is nothing we can do. We are putting in our effort and trying to have a good at bat. Sometimes we have been able to come through and sometimes we haven’t.”
For the second straight night, Boston’s starting pitcher only lasted four innings. However, Clay Buchholz gave up just one unearned run on three hits as opposed to Jake Peavy’s six hits and two runs in four innings on Saturday.
“We just didn’t – we didn’t have a lot of movement,” Matheny said. “We didn’t get a lot going and didn’t have any momentum offensively. He kept us off balance enough even though we did get him out of the game early. We still didn’t have a lot of damage and didn’t have a lot of pressure put on him.”
Felix Doubront got the win as he worked 2.2 innings of relief. Dubront allowed one run on one hit while striking out three.
Lynn worked 5.2 innings before Matheny replaced his starting pitcher with Maness with two outs and two runners on. Maness’ fifth pitch was blasted out of the park.
“I missed the spot and left the ball up,” Maness said. “He put a good swing on it and capitalized.”
Lynn gave up three runs on three hits and walked three while striking out five and took the loss.
With the series now tied at two games each, the World Series becomes a best of three. The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to the mound tonight as the Cardinals play their final home game of the 2013 season. The Red Sox will counter with Jon Lester.
“It’s going to be a fun one,” Beltran said. “They have their horse on the mound. We have our horse on the mound. They are facing Wainwright who is a tough pitcher too. I think it’s going to be even for everyone and we need to go out there and find a way to score for (Wainwright).”