The Red Sox couldn’t hold the tie game Daniel Nava generously gave them after the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Will Middlebrooks took over at third base and Xander Bogaerts moved to shortstop in lieu of Stephen Drew. Meanwhile, lefty Craig Breslow toed the rubber to start the inning. Important details.
Matt Carpenter led off with an infield single to Bogaerts. Breslow then threw a fastball just a bit too inside to Carlos Beltran, barely grazing the armor the Cardinals outfielder wears on his elbow, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Red Sox manager John Farrell brought on right-hander Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday, but it went sour quickly. Holliday ripped a double down the left field line. As Nava retrieved the ball in the corner, Carpenter had already scored easily while Beltran motored around third base, scoring just ahead of the relay throw to put the Cardinals up 4-2. Holliday moved to third base on the play at the plate.
Tazawa was able to strike out Yadier Molina and work around a two-out walk of David Freese as Jon Jay flew out to center to end the inning. The Cardinals are six outs away from taking a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.