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Lester, Wainwright square off again in pivotal Game 5

10:03 AM, Oct 28, 2013   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester eyes his fourth win this postseason on Monday when the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals play a pivotal Game 5 of the World Series at Busch Stadium.

Lester gave the Red Sox the early advantage in this series, as he scattered five hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings to nail down the Game 1 win and improve to 3-1 this postseason, while lowering his ERA to 1.67.

He is also 2-0 lifetime in the World Series and has yet to allow a run in 13 2/3 innings.

"His physical strength and endurance is unique," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think the one thing we all recognize is that power stuff wins in the postseason. He's got it. He maintains it. And in addition to his physical strengths, there's a degree of concentration that he's capable of maintaining that gives him the ability to execute consistently."

Of course, during his Game 1 win a St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguer tweeted out a picture and suggested that Lester may be hiding a foreign substance in his glove. Videos then surfaced and the story seemed to take on a life of its own before the Cardinals and Major League Baseball both said there was nothing to it.

"I'm sure there's going to be a focus on my glove and focus on my hands and what I'm doing, but I've got to worry about the Cardinals," said Lester. "If I'm worried about what people are looking at, I'm worried about the wrong things. I'm going to go out and pitch my game."

St. Louis, meanwhile, will turn to its ace Adam Wainwright, who will be trying to bounce back from a poor showing in that Game 1 assignment. Wainwright lost his second straight postseason start in that one and allowed five runs -- three earned -- and six hits in five innings.

The NL wins leader this season with 19, Wainwright is 2-2 this postseason with a 2.25 ERA.

"I honestly don't know why my mechanics were as bad as they were, why my delivery was off as much as it was," Wainwright said. "But I feel like I've put in a lot of good reps in front of the mirror and watching film and feeling my delivery, learning the basics all over again. I feel like I've made a lot of good adjustments to be ready to throw some quality pitches the next time. I threw maybe four or five quality pitches the whole time I was pitching (in Game 1)."

Wainwright is 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA in eight postseason games -- four starts -- in St. Louis.

Boston evened this best-of-seven set at two games apiece on Sunday with a 4-2 win, as Jonny Gomes cracked a three-run homer in the sixth inning to break a tie and David Ortiz reached base in all four plate appearances.

The Red Sox bounced back nicely after losing Game 3 Saturday night on the first walk-off obstruction call in World Series history.

Sunday's game ended abruptly with a pickoff when Red Sox closer Koji Uehara caught Kolten Wong leaning off first base with Carlos Beltran at the plate as the tying run for the Cardinals. Wong said his foot slipped as he turned to get back to the bag.

"I knew I was dead," said Wong.

Gomes -- a late replacement when Shane Victorino was scratched from the lineup because of lower back tightness -- homered into the Boston bullpen behind left field with two outs off reliever Seth Maness, who had just entered for St. Louis starter Lance Lynn.

"The one thing you can guarantee is when I'm in the lineup, I'm going to be swinging," said Gomes.

Maness threw Gomes five sinkers, leaving the last one up in the zone.

"I just missed my spot," said Maness.

Beltran had an RBI single in the defeat for the Cardinals, who lost for the first time this postseason when scoring first (8-1).

Of the previous 42 times that a World Series has been tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series 27 times, but just three times in the last 10 occasions.

This is the 10th time that St. Louis has been in this position and has won Game 5 just four times. However, it has gone on to win the series in eight of those instances.

Boston, meanwhile, has been tied 2-2 three other times and has lost the series on all three occasions, despite winning Game 5 twice.

This series will shift back to Fenway Park for Game 6 on Wednesday.

The Sports Network

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