EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 25, 2013

We've got ourselves a World Series

Cardinals answer bell in big way to make this a classic matchup

By Bill Burt

---- — BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox World Series Domination Tour ended abruptly last night at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox fell one victory short of a 10-game winning streak in the World Series, which would have tied them with the 1927 Yankees for the third longest streak in the history of the Fall Classic.

The Sox were thumped, 4-2, last night in Game 2 of the 2013 World Series.

Everything, it appeared, had finally fallen into place, which has seemed to happen even during the most dire of moments this October.

David Ortiz — of course! — hit his 17th career post-season home run over The Green Monster, putting the Red Sox ahead, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning.

It was another game the Red Sox outlasted a super-uber pitcher, this time 22-year-old St. Louis Cardinal Michael Wacha.

While Wacha dominated the Red Sox on the scoresheet before Ortiz’s blast, allowing only two hits, the Sox eventually ground out 114 pitches in just six innings.

But unlike any time during this post-season, your Red Sox fell apart.

It started with Red Sox starter John Lackey, who was again outstanding through six innings, allowing only one run. But he allowed a walk and single before handing the ball over to reliable lefty reliever Craig Breslow, who oversaw the worst half-inning of the post-season.

Three runs, two hits, a double steal, two errors and one walk later and the Red Sox have now got themselves a World Series.

The beneficiary of the Cardinals immediate answer to Ortiz’s homer was the talented Wacha, who has only been with team since early August.

“That’s the reason that they’re here right now,” said Wacha. “They never lose the fight, no matter what the score is, they always come in. They make plays behind you. It’s so much fun pitching out there.”

The Cardinals are beginning to look a lot like the Red Sox in diapers without the facial hair.

Each pitcher that entered the game looked younger and threw harder than the guy before him.

The fact that manager Mike Matheny didn’t do what every other manager in the league would have done when Ortiz came up in the eighth inning with Jacoby Ellsbury on base and replace right-handed reliever, Carlos Martinez, who is two months younger than Wacha, speaks volumes of this team’s grit.

Ortiz ended up getting a single, but the inning ended with he and Ellsbury being stranded.

Add in the fact that not only did the Red Sox mess up earlier in the top of the 7th inning, but the Cardinals played a role in those miscues with an opportune walk to lead off the big inning and a key double steal to get the runners in scoring position.

And the error by Breslow was started with a Cardinal taking an extra base at third.

“We’re not a big base-stealing threat, but I believe we’re opportunistic and when it presents itself, we have a few guys that can take advantage of it,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who’s next smile will be his first.

The Cardinals closed the game with 23-year-old Trevor Rosenthal striking out the side, all on fastballs topping 97 mph. It was impressive.

It was also a sign. Much to our behest, we have ourselves a World Series.

And despite early returns, it’s not going to be easy.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.