Red Sox on brink of championship after beating Cards
By Larry Fine
ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Boston broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of seventh-inning runs to support another brilliant outing by starter Jon Lester in a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday that put the Red Sox on the brink of winning the World Series.
The victory gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven and a chance to clinch the Major League Baseball crown with a win at Boston's Fenway Park in Game Six on Wednesday.
A ground-rule double by catcher David Ross plated one run and a single by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in another off St. Louis starter and loser Adam Wainwright to swing the balance in the seventh.
Lester, who went 7-2/3 shutout innings in picking up the win in the series opener, went the same distance on Monday, yielding one run on four hits, striking out seven with no walks. Closer Koji Uehara came on to finish, registering a four-out save.
For Lester, the win silenced the suggestion by a Cardinals minor leaguer after Game One that the Boston left-hander had cheated by using a foreign substance in his glove, backed by a photo he captured off the TV screen.
Lester, who explained that he coated his glove with rosin before games to counteract his heavy sweating so he could get a better grip on the baseball, continued to excel on the World Series stage.
He improved to 2-0 in this series with a 0.59 earned run average, and in three career Fall Classic starts, Lester now boasts a 3-0 record, giving up just one earned run over 21 innings.
"Jonny (Lester) is just a stud, we really rely on him," said his battery mate Ross. Continued...