The World Series will head back to St. Louis all evened up.
After falling in Game 1 of the World Series last night, the Cardinals bounced back tonight with a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox in Game 2.
The Cardinals got on the board first with an RBI ground out from Yadier Molina in the bottom of the top of the fourth inning, but the Red Sox pulled ahead against Michael Wacha when David Ortiz connected for a two-run blast — his 17th career postseason homer — over the Green Monster in the bottom of the sixth. However, the Red Sox failed to hold the lead for long, as errors from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Craig Breslow on the same play opened the door for the Cardinals to move ahead in the top of the seventh. Carlos Beltran, who left Game 1 with a rib contusion, added an insurance run with an RBI single.
The defensive implosion wasted a solid effort from John Lackey, who ended up being charged with three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Wacha walked away with the victory, even though he wasn’t as sharp as he was in previous postseason outings. The 22-year-old walked four batters and threw 65 out of 114 pitches for strikes, but only Ortiz got to him. The Cardinals relied on more youth to finish off the win, as Carlos Martinez tossed two scoreless innings — and danced around trouble in the eighth — and Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth to notch the save. All three pitchers used by the Cardinals tonight were 23 years old or younger.
Friday is a travel day, so the World Series will resume Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Joe Kelly will be on the mound for St. Louis in Game 3 while Jake Peavy will start for Boston.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look:
Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.
That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:
It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.