For the first four innings, Game Four of the World Series was good from the St. Louis Cardinals perspective.
And, since we all know there are nine innings in a game, we’re now looking at a 2-2 Series tie after the Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-2.
Through the first four innings, Lance Lynn was terrific — facing only the minimum number of Red Sox after the one base runner he did allow (David Ortiz, of course, on a second inning single) was erased on a double play.
Plus the Cardinals scored a run in the third when Matt Carpenter singled with one out, advanced to second when Jacoby Ellsbury let the ball get past him in center field for an error and scored when Carlos Beltran (of course) singled.
Then the fifth inning arrived, as did the beginning of the end. We all know about Lynn and his one bad inning. As an October special, it actually extended over two innings, the fifth and the sixth. Although the fifth inning actually could have been much worse, as a lead-off double by Ortiz (of course) and back-to-back walks to Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases with no outs. Stephen Drew was next, with a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game — and the only run of the inning.
But things didn’t go as well in the sixth, despite the fact Lynn easily retired the first two batters. A single by Dustin Pedroia and a walk to Ortiz ended Lynn’s night and brought in Seth Maness. Up came Jonny Gomes, out went the ball to left center, Gomes paraded around the bases like he’d just single-handedly won the entire World Series and we Cardinals fans remembered anew how much we’ve always despised this guy.
That was pretty much the end of the offense for the Sox on the night — but the damage was done.
And then there was the Cardinals offense … and the hitters who, for whatever reason, could do nothing more than score the one run off Clay Buchholz even though he never threw a pitch harder than 90 mph in the four innings he pitched.
They did have chances in the seventh, as they staged a mini-rally with two outs. Shane Robinson pinch-hit and doubled, then scored as Carpenter singled. Beltran was walked to put the tying runs on base with Matt Holliday coming up. Yet no heroics this time — he grounded out on the second pitch.
In the eighth, thanks to an error by Bogaerts and a wild pitch by John Lackey, Yadi ended up at third base with only one out. Yet nothing more happened, as Jon Jay popped out and David Freese grounded out.
Which brought us to the bottom of the ninth. After Daniel Descalso grounded out, Allen Craig came in to pinch-hit. And, Allen Craig being Allen Craig, he singled — getting pinch-hits in the World Series is what he does. Kolten Wong was brought in to pinch-run for him, given Craig’s foot injury.
After Matt Carpenter popped out, the Cardinals Mr. October Beltran was up … and the game was soon over, as Wong was picked off first base after he slipped in trying to get back to the bag. While it’s an absolutely brutal way for a game to end, you have to feel for the kid. (Well, I do, anyway, though I’m sure others out there are less compassionate.)
Thus apparently the baseball gods heard all the incessant whining and crying from the Red Sox fans over Game Three and decided they’d get their own dramatic game-ending win.
So it goes.
Now we move ahead to Game Five tonight, the last game of the 2013 season at Busch Stadium. It really feels like a must-win for the Cardinals, because they certainly don’t want to return to Fenway Park on Wednesday night down three games to two. Luckily (hopefully) the right guy is on the mound for the Cardinals in Adam Wainwright. He’s certainly saying all the right things — now he just needs to deliver this time. It’s a Game One rematch, as Jon Lester pitches for the Sox.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.