Cards try to gain upper hand, as World Series shifts to St. Louis

7:05 AM, Oct 26, 2013   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - After a miserable showing in Game 1, the St. Louis Cardinals bounced back on Thursday to even the best-of-seven World Series at a game apiece.

Now, the Fall Classic shifts to Busch Stadium where the Cardinals will try to seize control of the set in a pivotal Game 3 matchup with the Red Sox.

"Everyone is familiar with our home stomping grounds," St. Louis outfielder Shane Robinson said. "You get the fans cheering for you. Obviously, it's a little easier to play in your hometown. I think that's a big reason why we were successful toward the end."

St. Louis wrestled homefield advantage away from Boston in Game 2, as the Cardinals took advantage of a couple Red Sox errors and then rode their young bullpen for a 4-2 win.

Michael Wacha (1-0) got his fourth win in four postseason starts for St. Louis despite giving up a two-run homer to David Ortiz in the sixth inning that gave Boston a 2-1 lead.

The Cards, though, answered right back in the seventh with three runs.

With the bases loaded, Matt Carpenter lofted a fly ball to left. Jonny Gomes' throw home was wide to the first base side, though, and got past Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Lefty reliever Craig Breslow, backing up on the play, then threw high to third base trying to get Jon Jay, who scored on the play's second error to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.

"It was uncharacteristic of the way we've taken care of the ball this year," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Carlos Beltran, who left Game 1 with a rib injury, then singled home Daniel Descalso to make it 4-2.

From there the Cardinals bullpen took over, as 22-year-old Carlos Martinez threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning and pitched out of a jam with runners at first and second in the eighth for St. Louis, while 23-year-old Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side on 11 pitches in the ninth to wrap up the win.

"You turn the page and you come back the next day and you fight, you try your best and you go out there and expect to win," Cards third baseman David Freese said. "Tonight was a big game for us. One-to-one feels good. Being down two games, I'm sure statistically that is a tough feat to come back from."

The Red Sox, after coasting to an 8-1 win in Game 1, had a franchise-record nine-game World Series winning streak stopped.

St. Louis, meanwhile, has been tied 1-1 in a World Series 13 other times and has gone on to win 11 of those series. However, the last eight times the World Series has been tied at one, the Game 2 winner has lost the series on six of those occasions.

Now, though, the Cardinals return to Busch Stadium, where they won 21 of their last 26 regular-season games and are 5-1 in the playoffs.

"Excited to get home," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I know everybody is. Being able to take the World Series back to St. Louis and have our home fan base supporting us."

Of course, as the series shifts to St. Louis, both teams will lose the designated hitter, meaning Ortiz could find himself in the field for the Red Sox. Farrell has indicated that Ortiz will likely play first base and Mike Napoli will head to the bench.

On Saturday, St. Louis will turn to righty Joe Kelly, who was 10-2 over his last 15 regular season appearances, but the Cardinals have dropped two of his three starts this October.

Kelly posted a 2.69 ERA in 15 starts and 22 relief appearances during the regular season. However, he is pitching to a 4.41 ERA in 16 1/3 innings this postseason.

"It's exactly what we thought," Kelly said of the Red Sox. "These guys are very, very good hitters, and they're going to make you pay just like any other lineup in the playoffs. The team is stacked with power and speed. It ultimately comes down to just making pitches and getting ahead of these guys to get your team back in the dugout."

He will be going on nine days' rest and hasn't pitched since Game 5 of the NLCS last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, with Clay Buchholz apparently not 100 percent, Boston will turn to former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, who is 0-1 this postseason with an 8.31 ERA.

"A world title is at stake," Peavy said. "Opening Day, playoff games, All-Star games, games trying to get your team into the postseason ... It doesn't get any bigger than this stage. There isn't anything bigger than this."

Peavy gave up a run in 5 2/3 innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, but was tattooed by the Detroit Tigers in his lone ALCS start back on Oct. 16 to the tune of seven runs in three innings.

"The ball was moving, and I just have to be able to harness that a little bit better and stay under control," said Peavy. "A lot has to do with me getting going too much, moving a little too fast. I just wasn't staying back."

Acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline, Peavy was 4-1 in 10 starts for the Red Sox with a 4.04 ERA.

"Let's not sugarcoat anything," Peavy said, "this is the biggest game up until this point in time that I've ever pitched. We'd be silly to sit here and say otherwise. I've never been to this. This is why I play the game. This is why we all, I would like to think, play the game, is to be a world champion, to be the best in the world at what you do at the highest level. And so to go out in a World Series game and have a chance to sway the odds, the favor, in your direction, on the road, with a team that's got some momentum with a big win at our place, of course -- I think this is the biggest start in my career."

The team winning Game 3 in a 1-1 World Series has gone on to with the whole thing 67.3 percent of the time. That also has been the case the last four times and in 11 of the last 12 instances.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday.

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