Red Sox one win away from World Series

Boston side head for home with 3-2 lead over St Louis Cardinals

Koji Uehara (right) celebrates with David Ross after the Boston Red Sox defeated the St Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the World Series. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

Koji Uehara (right) celebrates with David Ross after the Boston Red Sox defeated the St Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the World Series. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images


There were no bizarre endings involving obstruction or pickoffs, this time, no hidden-ball tricks to end the game in some confusing and stunning fashion.

Game Five of the 2013 World Series on Monday night ended as hundreds before it have, routinely - this time when Koji Uehara got Matt Holliday for the final out.

But that was sweet enough for the Boston Red Sox, who beat the St Louis Cardinals, 3-1, and are now one win from their eighth World Series championship

Jon Lester pitched a magnificent game for the second time in the series, earning his second win by holding the Cardinals to a home run by Matt Holliday over seven and two-thirds innings, and David Ortiz continued his remarkable run of success at the plate. Ortiz collected three more hits, including a run-scoring double.

He also extended his streak of reaching safely to nine plate appearances, tying Billy Hatcher, who did it with the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990 World Series. With two home runs in the series, his slugging percentage plus his on-base percentage is an almost absurd 2.017.

“I was born for this,” Ortiz said. The Red Sox survived the three games in the National League ballpark without the use of the designated hitter, and now have two chances to close out the Series at Fenway Park and secure their third World Series title in nine years.

Wednesday’s game in Boston will be the first World Series Game Six at Fenway Park since 1975, when Bernie Carbo’s three-run homer set the stage for Carlton Fisk’s game-ending blast in the 12th inning.

This series, with its 11 combined errors and mistakes at the plate and on the basepaths, is not shaping up nearly as neatly, but at least there were no glaring mistakes or errors in Game Five.

Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals starter, struck out 10 batters and pitched far better than he did in Game One. But he gave up two runs in the seventh inning after a big gaffe.

After allowing a one-out single to Xander Bogaerts, Wainwright walked Stephen Drew, the weak-hitting Red Sox shortstop.

“More than anything, walking Drew there, that really hurt,” Wainwright said. Drew said he was starting to see the ball better and was able to lay off some tough pitches.

“Bogie getting on right there and myself, it changed the game,” Drew said. David Ross immediately made Wainwright pay by lashing a ground-rule double into the left-field corner to drive in Bogaerts and break a 1-1 tie. One out later, Jacoby Ellsbury looped a base hit to center to bring home Drew, and even though Ross was thrown out at the plate, the Red Sox led, 3-1.

Boston opened the scoring with a run in the first when Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz hit back-to-back doubles as Boston snatched a 1-0 lead. Ortiz, who rallied his team with an impromptu dugout meeting in Game Four on Sunday, now has six runs batted in over five games.

“That’s why we call him Cooperstown,” Ross said, “because he does Hall of Fame stuff.” Ortiz finally made an out in the sixth, but only when centre fielder Shane Robinson caught a line drive that Ortiz scalded. This Series has been characterised by its errors and mistakes, and two unusual endings.

On Saturday, Game Three ended on an obstruction call on Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks; on Sunday, Game Four ended when Cardinals’ pinch-runner Kolten Wong was picked off first base. Before this year, no World Series games had ended in either manner.

But Game Five, the last game at Busch Stadium this year, was a relatively crisp affair. Lester, with an unsolvable cutter, walked no one and struck out seven. He was in control until he was lifted for the closer Koji Uehara with two outs in the eighth.

He was so calm that when an enormous paper airplane sailed down from the stands and landed on the infield grass to the left of the dugout, he merely walked over and handed it to the bat boy. Then it was back to work. And after surrendering Holliday’s home run in the fourth, he set down the next 12 batters he faced.

“He’s our backbone,” Ross said. “He’s our horse when he’s out there.” Ross also said that he already had a pit in his stomach thinking about Game Six in Boston. Imagine how the Cardinals, who are on the brink of defeat, must feel. “We’ll be ready to win two tough games in Boston,” Wainwright said. New York Times

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