Final, Cardinals 5-4: This game just ended in the most improbable fashion.
Allen Craig doubled into left field off Koji Uehara to put runners at second and third with one out. The Red Sox pulled the infield in, and all hell broke loose on the next play.
Jon Jay hit a sharp grounder up the middle, and Dustin Pedroia made a great diving stop. Pedroia popped up and fired home to throw out Yadier Molina.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia then fired to third base in an effort to throw out Craig, and the ball traveled past Will Middlebrooks. Craig popped up to run home, but stumbled over Middlebrooks as Daniel Nava retrieved the ball in foul territory. Nava fired home to seemingly throw out Craig, but the umpires ruled obstruction on Middlebrooks. The call allowed the winning run to score.
Talk about a wild finish. We’ll only have one day to break everything down, as Game 4 will take place Sunday. But stick around with NESN.com as we try to make sense of what just happened in St. Louis.
12:01 a.m., 4-4: Koji Uehara is coming in to pitch.
Yadier Molina singled with one out in the ninth inning. Uehara will enter, and Allen Craig will pinch hit for Trevor Rosenthal.
Mid 9th, 4-4: The Red Sox went down in order in the ninth inning
John Farrell opted to let Brandon Workman bat with one out after Will Middlebrooks struck out to begin the ninth inning. Workman, as you might have expected, struck out on three pitches.
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to third base to end the inning.
Mike Napoli could have been an option to pinch hit for Workman, but Farrell obviously wants to potentially use him in another situation.
End 8th, 4-4: The Cardinals stranded two runners in the eighth inning, and we’ll head to the ninth with the score tied 4-4.
Brandon Workman took over in the eighth inning. Kolten Wong, who made a nice defensive play upon entering in the top of the eighth, singled into right field with one out to get things going for St. Louis.
Wong took off for second base with Matt Carpenter batting, but Carpenter popped out to short. Wong later stole second base with Carlos Beltran batting, at which point the Red Sox intentionally walked Beltran.
Workman escaped the inning by getting Matt Holliday to fly out to left field.
Mid 8th, 4-4: The Red Sox have tied the game.
Carlos Martinez took over in the eighth inning, and Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single into center field. Martinez then plunked Shane Victorino.
Dustin Pedroia worked the count full before hitting a slow ground ball to short. The Cardinals had no shot at turning a double play because the runners were going, and Pete Kozma fired to first base for the out.
Mike Matheny called for an intentional walk with David Ortiz up and first base open. Matheny then turned to his closer, Trevor Rosenthal, with the bases loaded as part of a double switch. Kolten Wong entered the game at second base.
Daniel Nava hit a line drive toward Wong, and the newly inserted second baseman made a fantastic sliding play on a short hop. Wong fired to second base from his knees for an out, but Nava beat out Kozma’s relay throw to first base. Ellsbury crossed the plate with Boston’s third run.
Xander Bogaerts then tied the game with a chopper up the middle. Kozma reached out his glove, but it kicked off the end of it and traveled into center field. Victorino scored the tying run, while Nava went from first to third.
The Red Sox had an opportunity to grab a lead, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn’t stand much of a chance against Rosenthal. He hit a soft grounder to the right side to end the inning.
Brandon Workman will be the new Red Sox pitcher in the bottom of the eighth.
11:23 p.m., Cardinals 4-2: We’ve reached a crucial moment in this game.
Carlos Martinez loaded the bases in the eighth inning, and Mike Matheny is now turning his his closer, Trevor Rosenthal, as part of a double-switch.
Daniel Nava will dig in with the bags packed and one out with the Red Sox trailing 4-2.
End 7th, Cardinals 4-2: The Cardinals got to the Red Sox’ bullpen in the seventh inning.
The first two hitters of the inning reached against Craig Breslow.
Matt Carpenter hit a ground ball toward short. Xander Bogaerts, who shifted to short after Will Middlebrooks pinch hit for Stephen Drew in the top half of the inning, charged in to make the play, but his throw was low. David Ortiz was unable to corral it while stretching, although it would have been a close play regardless.
Breslow’s first pitch to Carlos Beltran grazed the slugger on the elbow. Had Beltran not been wearing a protective elbow guard, it probably would have missed him by an inch.
John Farrell turned to Junichi Tazawa with runners at first and second and no outs. Matt Holliday greeted Tazawa with a ground ball past a diving Middlebrooks and into the left field corner. Both Carpenter and Beltran scored, and Holliday took third base on the throw home.
Tazawa struck out Matt Adams and Yadier Molina with high fastballs for the first two outs. David Freese then walked — and was lifted for a pinch runner in Daniel Descalso — before Jon Jay flied out to right-center field to end the inning.
10:48 p.m., 2-2: Craig Breslow was so reliable during the regular season and throughout the first two rounds. The World Series hasn’t been as kind to the lefty.
Breslow, who couldn’t get the job done in Game 2, failed to retire either batter he faced in the seventh inning of Game 3.
Matt Carpenter reached on a ground ball to short that resulted in an infield single. Carlos Beltran reached when a pitch grazed his elbow guard.
The Red Sox will now turn to Junichi Tazawa with runners at first and second and no outs. Matt Holliday is his first opponent.
Mid 7th, 2-2: The Red Sox made some changes in the seventh inning.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off against lefty Kevin Siegrist. He struck out swinging on four pitches, the last of which was a 98 mph heater right down the pike.
Will Middlebrooks then pinch hit for the struggling Stephen Drew. Middlebrooks, who entered the at-bat hitting .174 in the postseason, popped the first pitch into center field for the second out.
John Farrell turned to Jonny Gomes to pinch hit for Felix Doubront with two outs. Gomes hit a 2-0 fastball right at Jon Jay in center field for the third out.
Xander Bogaerts will now shift to shortstop as Middlebrooks takes over at third base. Mike Napoli, David Ross and Quintin Berry remain on the Red Sox’ bench.
Craig Breslow will be the new Boston pitcher in the seventh.
End 6th, 2-2: It’s a three-inning game.
Felix Doubront set the Cardinals down in order in the sixth inning. Jon Jay, Pete Kozma and Shane Robinson, who pinch hit for the pitcher, couldn’t get anything going against Felix Doubront.
Jay tried to bunt his way on, but Dustin Pedroia was all over it. Pedey charged in, scooped it and tossed to David Ortiz for the first out.
Kozma gave one a ride to left field, but Daniel Nava backtracked to make the catch just before the warning track.
Robinson popped out to second base to end the sixth. The Cardinals will turn to lefty Kevin Siegrist in the seventh inning.
Mid 6th, 2-2: Daniel Nava has made an impact in his first start of the World Series.
Nava sent Seth Maness’ first pitch into left field to tie the game at two apiece. Shane Victorino jogged home from third base on Nava’s RBI single.
The Red Sox still had a chance to take the lead, as Nava’s single put runners at first and second for Xander Bogaerts, who tripled in the fifth inning. But Bogaerts grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Felix Doubront, who worked a scoreless fifth inning, will come back out for the bottom of the sixth.
10:21 p.m., Cardinals 2-1: David Ortiz won the battle versus Randy Choate.
Ortiz ripped a 1-2 pitch into right field. Shane Victorino, who led off the sixth inning with a walk, went racing from first to third.
The Cardinals will now hand the ball to Seth Maness with runners at the corners and one out. Daniel Nava is coming up.
10:15 p.m., Cardinals 2-1: It’s officially a bullpen battle.
Joe Kelly is coming out of the game, as the Cardinals are turning to lefty Randy Choate to face David Ortiz with one out in the sixth inning.
Shane Victorino led off with a walk, and Dustin Pedroia lined out to David Freese at third base for the inning’s first out.
End 5th, Cardinals 2-1: Felix Doubront kept the Cardinals off the board in his first inning of work.
Doubront recorded two quick outs in the fifth inning. Carlos Beltran flied out to center field, and Matt Holliday grounded out to short.
Matt Adams threatened to get something going with two gone. He ripped a line drive down the right field line that resulted in a double.
John Farrell decided to walk Yadier Molina with first base open to face David Freese. Freese, whose 2011 World Series heroics will forever go down in history, flied out to right field to end the inning.
Mid 5th, Cardinals 2-1: The Red Sox have cut the Cardinals’ lead in half.
Xander Bogaerts gave the Red Sox a spark in the fifth. He sent a line drive toward the right-center field gap to lead off the inning, and it scooted all the way to the wall. Bogaerts ended up diving head first into third base with a triple.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struck out in his first at-bat, walked to put runners at the corners for Stephen Drew. Drew, who also struck out in his first at-bat, didn’t fare any better this time around. The shortstop went down swinging for the inning’s first out.
John Farrell turned to his bench with Jake Peavy due up. Mike Carp stepped up as a pinch hitter and hit a chopper over the mound. The Cardinals were able to record an out at second base, but Carp beat out Pete Kozma’s throw to first base. Bogaerts trotted home from third base on the play.
Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging to end the inning. Felix Doubront will be the new Red Sox pitcher in the fifth inning.
End 4th, Cardinals 2-0: Jake Peavy just wiggled his way out of a major jam.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, yet came away empty-handed.
Yadier Molina led off with a bloop single into center field, and David Freese walked on seven pitches after Peavy jumped ahead in the count, 1-2.
Jon Jay then singled into center field. It looked like the Cardinals might get a run out of it, but Molina was given a late stop sign around third base. That loaded the bases.
As it turns out, St. Louis got nothing. Peavy struck out Pete Kozma looking, and then got Joe Kelly and Matt Carpenter to pop out.
Mid 4th, Cardinals 2-0: The Red Sox produced their first hit in the fourth inning, but they’re still looking for their first run.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the fourth with a single through the right side. Matt Carpenter, who made a sensational diving stop in the second inning, laid out in an unsuccessful attempt to field Ellsbury’s seeing-eye single.
Shane Victorino popped out to first baseman Matt Adams in foul territory, and Dustin Pedroia sent a fly ball toward deep center field. Jon Jay raced back to retire Pedroia with a running catch.
Things escalated a bit when David Ortiz walked with two down in the inning. But Daniel Nava, who worked the count full, struck out to end the inning, stranding runners at first and second.
End 3rd, Cardinals 2-0: The Red Sox desperately need innings from Jake Peavy, and he has done a nice job of settling down over the last two frames.
Peavy has recorded back-to-back 1-2-3 innings after a shaky first. Boston did commit an error in the third inning, but it didn’t amount to anything.
Peavy struck out Carlos Beltran to open the third. Beltran worked a full count, but foul tipped a fastball into Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s mitt for the first out.
Matt Holliday lifted a lazy fly ball into shallow center field. Jacoby Ellsbury raced in, but the ball smacked off his glove. Fortunately for the Red Sox, Holliday took too wide of a turn around first base, and Dustin Pedroia was able to pick up the ball and fire to David Ortiz for the second out.
Peavy struck out Matt Adams to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Cardinals, 2-0: The Red Sox’ offense has been unable to get anything going thus far.
Joe Kelly set the Sox down in order again in the third inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew both continued their offensive struggles.
Saltalamacchia and Drew both struck out swinging. Salty was tardy on a 97 mph fastball, and Drew chased a 2-2 curveball in the dirt. Drew wasn’t even close to the deuce out of the zone.
Jake Peavy stepped up and hacked at the first pitch. He grounded out to Matt Carpenter at second base.
End 2nd, Cardinals 2-0: Jake Peavy settled down in the second inning.
Peavy retired the side in order after giving up two runs on four hits in the opening frame. The typically animated right-hander looked much more in control in the second inning.
Peavy took care of Pete Kozma, Joe Kelly and Matt Carpenter in the second. Kozma and Carpenter popped out, and Kelly struck out.
We’ll see if the wind is a factor at all in this game. Dustin Pedroia was certainly forced to battle it while hauling in Kozma’s popup.
Mid 2nd, Cardinals 2-0: The Cardinals’ sloppy Game 1 defense is a distant memory. Matt Carpenter made a fantastic diving play in the second inning as St. Louis leads 2-0.
David Ortiz grounded to first base for the first out. Joe Kelly, whose first 12 pitches were fastballs, finally threw an offspeed pitch in a 2-2 count against Ortiz. The slugger rolled it down the line.
Daniel Nava, who is getting his first start of the World Series, nearly grounded a base hit into center field, but Carpenter made a sensational diving stop. Carpenter delivered a strong throw from his knees while on the outfield grass to complete the out.
Xander Bogaerts grounded to short to end the inning.
End 1st, Cardinals 2-0: Jake Peavy is off to an ugly start.
Peavy wasn’t fooling anyone in the first inning, as the Cardinals posted two runs on four hits while hitting the ball very hard. Felix Doubront has already gotten up in the Red Sox’ bullpen.
Matt Carpenter led off the game with a line-drive single into right field. Peavy jumped ahead in the count, 0-2, but Carpenter stayed back on a 1-2 curveball to pick up the base hit.
Peavy fell behind Carlos Beltran with Carpenter on first. Beltran tried to drop down a bunt in a 3-1 count after noticing that Xander Bogaerts moved, but it resulted in an out. Peavy came off the mound to make the play.
Matt Holliday put the Cardinals on the scoreboard with a single into right field. Matt Adams followed with a single to make it first and second with one out, and Yadier Molina knocked in Holliday with a hard-hit single into left field.
Peavy avoided any additional damage by retiring David Freese and Jon Jay. Freese hammered a fly ball to right field, though, and it’s clear early on that the Cardinals are locked in against Peavy.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Joe Kelly got off to a nice start.
Kelly retired the side in order in the first inning, and played a role in all three outs.
Kelly struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to begin the game. Ellsbury took a 1-2 fastball that registered at 98 mph.
Shane Victorino followed with a chopper back up the middle. Kelly reached back with his bare hand and made a nice play before tossing to first for the second out.
Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball to the right side. First baseman Matt Adams made the play and flipped to Kelly for the third out.
8:09 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes a first-pitch strike. Game 3 is underway.
7:52 p.m.: Clay Buchholz spoke with the media before Game 3. He said that while he’s not 100 percent, he plans to go out and compete in Game 4.
Buchholz, who missed three months of the regular season with a shoulder issue, dealt with tightness in his last start in Game 6 of the ALCS. He’s still slated to pitch Sunday, though.
John Farrell said Saturday that the Red Sox briefly considered the possibility of Jon Lester pitching Games 4 and 7 on three days’ rest, but that they ultimately decided against it because it wasn’t in the team’s best interest.
7:21 p.m.: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is getting the start behind the plate, although David Ross seems like the better option in this instance.
John Farrell said Saturday that he considered starting Ross over Saltalamacchia before ultimately going with Salty. In my opinion, Ross should have been the guy.
Consider Jake Peavy’s regular-season numbers when working with each catcher.
With Saltalamacchia: five starts, 4.64 ERA (17 ER, 33 IP), 1.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio
With Ross: three starts, 2.75 ERA (6 ER, 19 2/3 IP), 5.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio
When you factor in Peavy’s struggles in his last start in Detroit, it seems like the right-hander could have benefited from having a calming veteran presence like Ross behind the plate. And that’s not even factoring in Saltalamacchia’s offensive struggles.
7:06 p.m.: Daniel Nava is back in the lineup for Game 3, which is the right move for the Red Sox.
Jonny Gomes has been a huge asset, but I think that the Red Sox are better off picking their spots with him when facing right-handed starters. Nava has been the far better hitter against righties this season, and is also the better defender in left field.
In my opinion, Gomes’ energy off the bench is something that can’t be replicated. Therefore, I think saving him for specific situations later in the game is the Red Sox’ best move.
For more on that situation, check out the link below.
6:44 p.m.: There are a lot of people — if Twitter and talk radio are good indicators — clamoring for Stephen Drew to be removed from the Red Sox’ starting lineup. The alternative to Drew, of course, is Xander Bogaerts moving to short while Will Middlebrooks plays third base.
John Farrell is sticking with Drew, though, and it’s because of the strong defense that the shortstop has provided.
“Defensively he’s outstanding,” Farrell said Saturday. “Much like we talked about with Mike Napoli, Stephen has been in a situation where he’s saved us a number of runs. He’s anchored our defense on the infield. He and Dustin [Pedroia] work exceptionally well as a double‑play combination?”
But about Drew’s offense?
“Offensively, he’s had his struggles, there’s no doubt about it,” Farrell said. “But as I’ve said a number of times as well in this situation, pitching and defense keeps you in games. It gives you an opportunity to win some games late. And the defense he provides is a premium to us. And that’s the best way I could sum it up for him.”
Drew has certainly been awful offensively, but I tend to agree with Farrell’s logic. Those who want Drew to be benched seem to be forgetting that Will Middlebrooks is hitting .174 (4-for-23) with nine strikeouts this postseason.
While the frustration surrounding Drew is understandable, I’m just not sure that Middlebrooks has shown enough offensively to warrant the significant drop-off that would result from removing Drew from the lineup.
5:30 p.m.: We’re inching closer to game time, and the lineup cards have been posted.
Daniel Nava, as expected, will return to the starting lineup and play left field in Game 3. He’ll bat fifth behind David Ortiz, who is dusting off the first baseman’s mitt in the absence of a designated hitter.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia will remain behind the plate for Game 3, although John Farrell admitted Saturday that he did give some consideration to starting David Ross. Farrell left the door open for a big role for Ross going forward in the series.
Stephen Drew is still in the Red Sox’ starting lineup as well, despite hitting .095 (4-for-42) with 15 strikeouts this postseason. Farrell pointed to Drew’s reliable defense as the reason for sticking with the shortstop.
The complete Game 3 lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jake Peavy, RHP
Matt Carpenter, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Matt Adams, 1B
Yadier Molina, C
David Freese, 3B
Jon Jay, CF
Pete Kozma, SS
Joe Kelly, RHP
8 a.m. ET: The World Series changed in a hurry in Game 2.
The Red Sox completely controlled Game 1 en route to grabbing a 1-0 series lead. The Sox then threatened to grab a 2-0 series lead when David Ortiz put Boston in front in the sixth inning of Game 2 with a two-run homer off Michael Wacha The Cardinals responded with three runs in the seventh inning of Game 2, though, and the series now shifts to St. Louis tied at a game apiece.
“Excited to get home. I know everybody is,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Thursday. “Being able to take the World Series back to St. Louis and have our home fan base supporting us. It meant a lot to be able to play here in Fenway. It’s a pretty unique experience for a lot of guys that have never played here before to be able to do it on this stage. But there’s no place like home, there’s no doubt about it.”
Jake Peavy will go up against Joe Kelly in Game 3. Peavy struggled in his ALCS start in Detroit, so he’ll be looking to silence some critics. It won’t be easy, as it’s fairly obvious that these two evenly matched teams are going to duke it out until the very end, no matter what.
“This time of the year with what our guys have proven over the long haul, we’re looking forward to the challenge of going into what should be a great environment over in St. Louis,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday. “Looking forward to Jake taking them on in Game 3, and continuing to pace our way from the mound. I thought with the exception of one inning, I know it’s only two games, we continued to throw the ball well from the mound, and I fully expect that to continue.”
Game 3 in St. Louis is scheduled to kick off at 8:07 p.m. Keep it right here for updates throughout the day.