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.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.