Last night was the first time a World Series game ended on an obstruction call. Tonight’s was the first one that ended on a pickoff throw to first. But this time, the Red Sox came out on top.
Clay Buchholz took the hill for what is very likely his final start of the year. There was some uncertainty about his arsenal going into the game. Those suspicions proved accurate as his velocity was indeed down. His final line wasn’t ace-like, but decent given his condition: four innings, three hits, three walks, two strikeouts, one unearned run (due to a rare missed catch error by Jacoby Ellsbury) and 66 pitches thrown.
The Red Sox would even the score at one all in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew. They would take the lead for good in the sixth. Lance Lynn would record the first two outs before giving up a single to Dustin Pedroia and a walk to David Ortiz to end his night on the hill. Seth Maness would come in to relieve Lynn and face Jonny Gomes (who was penciled in at the last minute due to Shane Victorino nursing a sore back). In the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Gomes would launch a Maness sinker over the left-center fence for a three run homer.
Felix Doubront would take over for Buchholz in the fifth and would retire eight batters in a row (good for two and two-thirds innings) before giving up a double to Shane Robinson. In a questionable move, John Farrell opted to pull Doubront and replace him with Craig Breslow. Breslow would give up an RBI single to Matt Carpenter and would walk Carlos Beltran on four pitches. It is very obvious that he is clearly fatigued right now. It would probably be a good idea to not use him again until Game Six (by then he’ll have a couple days of rest). Junichi Tazawa would come in and get Matt Holliday to ground out on two pitches.
John Lackey would make his first relief appearance since 2004 in the eighth inning (and on two days rest). He would retire Matt Adams on a soft grounder for out number one. Xander Bogaerts almost had a highlight reel play for out number two. After making a great diving stab of a Yadier Molina grounder, he would make an errant throw to first that Mike Napoli just couldn’t catch. So instead of out number two, Molina would go to second with just one out. Molina would then advance to third due to a wild pitch by Lackey to Jon Jay. Luckily Jay would hit a weak infield pop up for out number two. It would then take all of three pitches for Lackey to get David Freese to ground out to Stephen Drew. It wasn’t pretty, but Lackey was able to get three big outs and escape the inning unscathed and going in on two days rest. That’s why they pay him the big bucks.
Koji Uehara came in for the save in the ninth. After getting Daniel Descalso to ground out for out number one, Koji would give up a single to Allen Craig (held to a single thanks to Craig’s ailing foot. If he’s healthy he
probably goes for second). Kolten Wong would come in to pinch run. Koji would get the second out by getting Matt Carpenter to pop up to Daniel Nava. It was a 1-1 count to Carlos Beltran (the guy who’s making a case as being the best postseason player ever) when something unusual happened. Koji would catch Wong napping and made a pickoff throw to first. Wong was unable to make it back in time and was tagged out by Mike Napoli.
This is a big win for the Red Sox. It guarantees a return to Fenway Park where the team will have the opportunity to clinch in front of their home fans.