ST. LOUIS — The Boston Red Sox supporting cast joined with the marquee efforts of Jon Lester and David Ortiz to move the Red Sox to within one victory of their third World Series title in the last 10 seasons as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, Monday at Busch Stadium in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
The Red Sox now take a 3-2 edge in the Series back to Boston.
“We've just got to win one,” Dustin Pedroia said. “It's a good feeling.”
It was even a better feeling for the Red Sox when the bottom of the lineup started a rally against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and support Lester.
The Red Sox left-hander pitched 72/3 innings, giving up only four hits and one run, striking out seven and retiring 12 consecutive batters after Matt Holliday hit a score-tying home run in the fourth that landed on the grassy knoll behind the center-field fence.
Lester has pitched 151/3 innings in the World Series, giving up nine hits and only one run, the home run hit by Holliday.
“When we won [the World Series] in 2007, you guys saw him perform that year,” Ortiz said. “He told me he was going to be the ace of the organization. Now he's here, doing what he knows best.”
The confidence Manager John Farrell had in Lester was magnified by the fact that he let Lester bat with one out in the seventh and Boston trying to extend a 2-1 lead. Lester appeared to tweak his groin on a swing but stayed in the game.
“The time is now,” Lester said. “We've got to win now. That's all you can focus on.”
Ortiz made the Cardinals pay the price in the first inning with an run-scoring double and is 11 for 15 (.733) in this Series. He reached base safely nine consecutive times until lining out to center in the sixth. Ortiz is batting .476 during his career in the Series, the highest average among players with at least 50 plate appearances.
“We call him Cooperstown because he does Hall of Fame stuff,” Red Sox catcher David Ross said.
It was Ross, along with Stephen Drew, who helped advance Boston's cause in Game 5. Drew, who is four for 50 with 18 strikeouts in the Series, battled from a 1-2 count to draw a walk in the seventh inning.
“It changed the game,” Drew said.
Ross followed with a ground-rule double to score Xander Bogaerts with the go-ahead run. Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny elected to stay with Wainwright, who struck out 10, but Jacoby Ellsbury hit a single with two out to score Drew and increase Boston's lead to 3-1.
It was another risk that fell flat for the Cardinals, who tried to pull out all the stops in Game 5, starting Allen Craig at first base for the first time since he was injured Sept. 4.
Craig, who moved gingerly, was 0 for 3 for a Cardinals offense that was limited to four hits and struck out nine times as Red Sox closer Koji Uehara polished off the victory with 11/3 scoreless innings.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times