Jonny Gomes’s first World Series hit was a timely one: a three-run home run in the sixth inning that helped the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 and even the best-of-seven contest at two games each.
Gomes, plugged into the Boston lineup just over an hour before last night’s game because of a back injury to Shane Victorino, was hitless in nine World Series at-bats before his tie-breaking homer at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
“All I wanted was the opportunity, whether it’s pinch-hit, start, anything,” Gomes said in a televised interview. “I just wanted to be in the box.”
Game 5 in Major League Baseball’s championship series is scheduled for tonight in St. Louis, where the past two games have ended with postseason firsts.
Two days ago, the Red Sox lost 5-4 in Game 3 as third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for obstruction on a throw to third base in the bottom of the ninth inning, with umpires ruling that runner Allen Craig would have scored the winning run if he hadn’t been tripped by Middlebrooks. It was the first MLB postseason game to end on an obstruction call.
Last night, Carlos Beltran, who has 16 career postseason homers, was at the plate for the Cardinals with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when rookie pinch-runner Kolten Wong was picked off at first base to end the game. It was the first time a playoff game has ended with a pickoff.
“I feel bad for the kid because I know he’s trying to steal a base or put himself in a position where he can score,” Beltran, who leads the Cardinals with 14 runs batted in this postseason, told reporters last night. “It has to be a bad feeling for him, but the best way for us to pick him up is being able to come here tomorrow and get a win.”
David Ortiz went 3-for-3 with two runs scored last night for the Red Sox and said he sought to fire up his teammates in the dugout in between innings. The Red Sox have made seven errors in the World Series, including the throwing error that led to the obstruction call and Game 3 loss.
“I said, ‘You don’t come to the World Series everyday, let’s loosen up and play baseball the way we do,’” Ortiz said. “I know we’re a better team that what we showed, but sometimes you get to this stage and you try to overdo things and it doesn’t work that way.”
With the Cardinals holding a 1-0 lead, Ortiz led off the top of the fifth inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew. The next inning, Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs, Ortiz walked and Gomes followed with his homer as the first batter to face Cardinals reliever Seth Maness.
‘Didn’t Work Out’
“Seth, he’s been a guy who’s been able to do an incredible job in that situation all season long,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said at a news conference. “He’s been able to come in and get the big out when we needed it, we wanted to give him a shot and it just didn’t work out.”
Matt Carpenter added a run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh inning for St. Louis, yet it was the last run the home team would get against the Red Sox, who used five relievers after starter Clay Buchholz pitched four innings. John Lackey pitched a scoreless eighth inning -- his first relief appearance since 2004 -- and Koji Uehara closed out the Cardinals in the ninth for his sixth save of the postseason.
St. Louis brought the tying run to the plate in the last inning after a one-out single by Craig. Wong, 23, came in as the pinch-runner and after Carpenter popped up for the second out, Wong was caught leaning too far off first base and was thrown out by Uehara to end the game.
Wong, with tears in his eyes, said after the game it was the toughest moment of his baseball career.
“Once I turned to get back, my foot slipped out,” he said to reporters in televised comments in the Cardinals’ locker room. “I knew I was dead once it happened.”
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