Video reports by Alison Morris and Rich Coppola, Fox CT
Text by Paul Doyle, The Hartford Courant
ST. LOUIS — They climbed back from two deficits, tying the game against a pair of young pitchers who were untouchable two nights earlier.
In perhaps the most important game of fall, the Red Sox went toe-to-toe with the Cardinals for nine innings. But in a bizarre ending, the game unraveled for the Red Sox and the Cardinals completed a 5-4 victory.
The winning run scored when third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for interfering with baserunner Allen Craig, who had doubled off Koji Uehara. With Craig on second and Yadier Molina on third, Jon Jay hit a grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia threw home to get Molina and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia threw to third as Craig attempted to take the base. The throw sailed past Middlebrooks as Craig slid into the base. When Craig attempted to get up and run, Middlebrooks — sprawled on the ground — raised his legs to block Craig.
The throw to the plate from left fielder Daniel Nava beat Craig, but umpires ruled interference and the game was over.
The Cardinals lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday night, with Clay Buchholz starting for the Red Sox despite dealing with shoulder fatigue.
It was a 2-2 game when the Cardinals rallied in the seventh. After resisting calls to bench the slumping Stephen Drew, manager John Farrell pinch-hit for the shortstop in the sixth. In the seventh, Xander Bogaerts moved from third to short and Will Middlebrook took over at third — seemingly weakening the team defensively at two positions.
And sure enough, Matt Carpenter led the seventh by reaching on an infield single. His bouncer off Craig Breslow was charged by Bogaerts, but the throw was wide and David Ortiz couldn’t handle the ball. Still, Carpenter would have beaten the throw on a play that Drew may have converted.
Next, Breslow hit Carlos Beltran with a pitch and the Yale graduate was finished. It was his second shaky outing of the series.
Junichi Tazawa’s third pitch was drilled under third baseman Middlebrook’s glove for a two-run double. It was a play Bogaerts would probably have made at third, but Middlebrooks couldn’t knock the ball down.
Tazawa struck out Matt Adams and Yadier Molina before walking David Freese. He retired Jon Jay on a fly ball to end the inning.
With eight outs left, it looked bleak for the Red Sox. They were overwhelmed by Cardinals’ hard-throwing relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal in Game 2, so they faced a difficult task.
Martinez, though, did not have the same command. He allowed a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury before Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch for the seventh time in the postseason. With the runners in motion on a 3-and-2 pitch, Pedroia grounded to short and the runners advanced.
David Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases before Rosenthal replaced Martinez. A run scored when Nava hit a hard one-hopper to second baseman Kolten Wong, who gathered the ball and threw to second for the force.
Next, Bogaerts hit a 1-and-1 pitch to center field for a single that delivering the tying run.
Rosenthal retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the eighth and set the Red Sox down in order in the ninth.