SAINT LOUIS – Jonny Gomes clubbed a three-run home run and David Ortiz batted three-for-three as Boston rallied to defeat St. Louis 4-2 Sunday and knot the World Series at two games each.
Unheralded Gomes smashed his two-out homer into the Red Sox bullpen off Cardinals reliever Seth Maness just moments after Maness had come in to replace starter Lance Lynn in the top of the sixth inning.
“I got a good pitch,” Gomes said. “If I am fortunate enough to get a mistake, my bat is going to come to the zone hot.”
Gomes wasn’t even supposed to start the game for the Red Sox, whose victory insured the best-of-seven series will go at least six games.
Manager John Farrell inserted him into the lineup just before game time after right fielder Shane Victorino was scratched with a bad back.
Game five is set for Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Ortiz led off the fifth inning with a double. He also had two singles, walked once and scored two runs for the Red Sox, who were able to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss the night before when the game ended in chaos after the umpires ruled that Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks had interfered with Cards baserunner Allen Craig.
“We have seen it many times. Granted the stage is bigger,” Farrell said. “This is consistent with the way we have responded with a tough night the night before.
“That is just who these guys are, they have shown it many times over,” he said.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz lasted only four innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out two. His bullpen did the rest, including Japanese closer Koji Uehara who shocked everyone with a surprise pick off of Cardinals base runner Kolten Wong at first for the final out of the game.
“That was on his own,” Farrell said of Uehara. “It was all on Uehara.”
This is the fourth time Boston and St. Louis have squared off in the World Series and the first since 2004, when the Red Sox snapped their 86-year drought with a four-game sweep.
The loss snapped the Cardinals’ eight game win streak when they had scored first in the playoffs.
“We didn’t have a lot of movement,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. “We didn’t get a lot going, and didn’t have any momentum offensively.”
Matheny said one of their biggest problems in the World Series has been getting offense from the bottom half of their batting order.
“We tried moving guys around a little bit to see if something will spark there,” he said. “We’ve got guys that can contribute at the bottom of our lineup, and right now it’s not happening.
“It’s just a matter of somebody getting it going. Right now, yeah, we’re having trouble,” Matheny said.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn struck out five and allowed three runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings of work in front of a crowd of 47,469.
Lynn got the first two outs of the sixth inning but was then replaced by Maness after Lynn had walked Ortiz.
Maness then gave up the three-run homer to Gomes which gave the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. Gomes was a career five-for-41 in the playoffs prior to his sixth-inning blast.
In the fifth, Lynn decided to pitch to Ortiz who doubled to centre field. Ortiz ended up scoring on a bases-loaded, none-out sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew. Ortiz beat the throw to home to tie the game 1-1.
St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran opened the scoring by hitting a single to centre field to drive home Matt Carpenter from second base.
Carpenter got on with a hit to centre field and was able to stretch it out to a double when Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury let the ball slip past him. Ellsbury was given an error on the play.