Four Real? Beards shave Birds in WS Game Four 10-27-13

Jonny Gomes blasted a three-run homer to lead Boston to a 4-2 win over
St. Louis in Game 4 of the World Series Sunday (AP photo Michael Dwyer)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

One day after a crushing loss in Game Three of the World Series, the Red Sox bounced back with a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four Sunday night at Busch Stadium. 

The win tied up the series at two apiece, turned the Fall Classic into a best-of-three and assured Red Sox Nation that their team will play at least a Game Six back at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Much like Saturday — when an obstruction call at third ended a game for the first time in World Series history, giving St. Louis a 5-4 win — Sunday night’s affair was capped by another World Series first when Kolten Wong was picked off at first base by Koji Uehara to end the game.

Ailing Sox starter Clay Buchholz shook off injury concerns and dead-arm issues and chipped in with 66 pitches over four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking three and striking out a pair, but the real key to the victory came out of the bullpen.

After tossing two innings of scoreless relief on Saturday, Felix Doubront was called upon to be an innings-eater once again, and once again didn’t disappoint. This time the Venezuelan southpaw (1-0, 1.29 postseason ERA) went two and two-thirds and struck out three to pick up the win. While lefthander Craig Breslow continued to struggle, facing only two batters and giving up a hit and a walk, Junichi Tazawa and scheduled Game Six starter John Lackey — working his first relief outing since 2004 — came on to toss one-and-a-third scoreless frames before Uehara locked down his first series save and the Game Four victory for Boston.

While Boston and St. Louis each recorded only six hits in the game, no rip was bigger than the one that came off the bat of Jonny Gomes in the sixth.

A late addition to the lineup card after Shane Victorino was scratched with lower back tightness just ninety minutes prior to first pitch, Gomes — who was 0 for 9 in the series and hitting .171 in the postseason overall — stroked a three-run bomb that drove in the decisive runs for Boston.

Even the much-maligned Stephen Drew — 1 for 12 with five Ks in the series — made a productive out in the game, lifting a sacrifice fly to drive in David Ortiz in the fifth to tie the score.

Starting at first base for his second consecutive game, Ortiz went 3 for 3 with a walk and scored two runs in the game to raise his World Series batting average to a gaudy .727 — the highest of any player to ever play at least five games in a World Series. After a lackluster league championship series versus Detroit in which he batted only .091, Big Papi has since gone 8 for 11 with 2 homers, five RBI, four walks and zero strikeouts. His slugging percentage is 1.364, while his OPS is 2.114.

On a less positive note, the Red Sox recorded two errors in the game, making it seven total screw-ups in the first four games. They’re the first team to make an error in each of the first four games of a World Series since the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Carpenter Builds A Lead: The Cardinals pushed the first run of the game across in the third when Carlos Beltran singled to center off Clay Buchholz to cash in Matt Carpenter and put the Birds up 1-0. 

2) Fit To Be Tied: After a leadoff double by David Ortiz and two walks to load the bases, the Sox knotted the score 1-1 in the fifth when Stephen Drew lofted a sacrifice fly to left and Ortiz raced home, blocking backstop Yadier Molina from catching the ball as he slid into the dish.

3) Going, Going, GOMES!: In the sixth, Jonny Gomes ended an 0-for-9 World Series skid in dramatic fashion, ripping a 2-2 sinker off reliever Seth Maness over the left-field fence and into the bullpen, driving in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz ahead of him to put Boston up 4-1.

4) Wong Number, Kolten: The game ended on a bizarre World Series-first note for the second night in a row when, with a 1-1 count on Carlos Beltran at the plate and two out, Sox closer Koji Uehara fired to first to pick off pinch-runner Kolten Wong, who replaced Allen Craig after he singled to right. 

Tomorrow night, Jon Lester will take the ball against Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium in a rematch of Game One starters. Lester (3-1, 1.67 ERA in the 2013 postseason) was brilliant in that one, scattering five hits and striking out eight over 7.2 innings to pick up the win as the Red Sox romped to an 8-1 victory. Wainwright (2-2, 2.25 ERA in the 2013 postseason) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits over five frames. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.

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