Red Sox on brink after Game 5 victory

11:53 AM, Oct 29, 2013   |    comments
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Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (right) celebrates with catcher David Ross (3) after game five of the MLB baseball World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Photo: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports

Bob Nightengale
USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals were defiant. They kept telling themselves there was no way Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz could be this good. Jon Lester couldn't pitch like this again, not without a dab of green goop on his glove. So they challenged the Boston Red Sox with a dose of bravado, daring to beat them the ol' fashioned way.

The Red Sox loved it, and exploited it, knocking off the Cardinals, 3-1, at Busch Stadium, moving within one game of their third World Series championship in 10 years, taking a 3-2 lead in the Series.

The Red Sox, behind Lester's dazzling performance - four hits and one runs in 7 2/3 innings - can now win a clinching World Series game at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.

|The Cardinals, who had the National League's finest offense, have scored just 13 runs. They've hit two homers, courtesy of Matt Holliday.

While the Red Sox pitching has stifled the Cardinals' offense, Ortiz has been a one-man band, hitting .733 this Series. He made just two outs during his three-day junket to St. Louis, and tied a World Series record by reaching base nine consecutive times with a double and single in his first two at-bats. He finally made an out when he hit a line drive to center field in the sixth, delighting the sellout crowd, but he left the game with one more hit in the eighth inning.

"We all know the career he's been able to put up,'' second baseman Matt Carpenter says, "but to hit like he's hit so far in this World Series..."

Carpenter stopped, searching for the right words.

"I mean, that's really impressive,'' he said. "He's as tough as an out as you're going to find in this game.''

Perhaps this is why Adam Wainwright's bravado was so stunning.

Dustin Pedroia hit a one-out first-inning double. Ortiz was up next, and everyone from Ortiz to the peanut vendors to the grounds crew anticipated Wainwright would walk him.

Wainwright challenged him.

Ortiz smacked the first pitch past first baseman Allen Craig into the right-field corner for a double. Pedroia scored. The Red Sox were up 1-0; the Cards never really recovered.

"I don't like walking anybody,'' Wainwright said. "Got a guy on second already. First inning. He's out of his mind hot. That was my call before the game. He hit a good pitch.''

And the Red Sox had quite a happy flight home.

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