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 Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.