Breaking down Red Sox breakdown: Pair of errors open door for Cardinals rally, win

October 24, 2013 - 10:48 pm
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This time, the baseball gods did not look favorably upon the Red Sox. A day after they benefited from a game-changing sequence of Cardinals errors en route to the Game 1 win, the Red Sox found themselves on the wrong end of defensive lapses. Seventh-inning errors by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Craig Breslow -- on the same play, no less -- paved the way for a three-run Cardinals rally and, in turn, a 4-2 victory in Game 2. The World Series will head to St. Louis tied, 1-1. '€œWe fully expected this to be a hard-fought series,'€ manager John Farrell said. '€œNot surprising that we'€™re in this position we are. In the seventh inning, we kind of contributed to the three runs allowed.'€ The inning started innocently enough, with John Lackey fanning Allen Craig for the first out of the frame and sixth strikeout of the night. But after an eight-pitch at-bat resulted in a David Freese walk and Jon Jay singled to right, Breslow came on in relief. Pinch-runner Pete Kozma -- the St. Louis goat Wednesday -- and Jay advanced to third and second on a double steal. Breslow walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases for Matt Carpenter, a career .769 (10-for-13) hitter with three men on. "I was trying to get a ground ball, obviously, with guys on first and second. Once they had the double steal and first base was open, it changes the approach a little bit,'€ Breslow said. '€œObviously pretty big to try and keep those runs there, try to get a strikeout. I took a chance with a breaking ball. I didn't make the pitch. I found myself in need for a ground ball with the next guy." Carpenter sent Breslow'€™s first offering '€” an 88 mph two-seamer '€” to left, where Jonny Gomes got under it without trouble. Gomes came up firing but his throw was about six feet up the first-base line, pulling Jarrod Saltalamacchia away from the plate. Kozma scored to knot the game at 2-2. Saltalamacchia tried to stand his ground on the play '€” he kept his left foot near home plate while stretching to try to reel in Gomes'€™ throw -- but the ball squibbed away.  '€œThe throw took me a little to the right. I tried to kind of lean for it,'€ Saltalamacchia said. '€œIt's one of those plays, you're kind of do or die. I obviously wish I could've held onto the ball, but at the time, we're trying to get the out. "I could've just let him score and caught the ball,'€ Saltalmacchia added, reflecting on his in-the-moment alternatives. '€œI could've gotten around the ball and just catch it and dive. There's a lot of things you can look back on now and try and change. What's happened happened and you move on.'€ Added Farrell: '€œWe know the importance of the run in that spot. '€¦ There'€™s no second-guessing Salty'€™s approach on that.'€ Breslow, doing the fundamentally sound thing by backing up Saltalamacchia, retrieved the ball behind home. But Jay had taken off from second, and by the time Breslow threw to third, Jay was already more than two-thirds of the way there. The throw ended up in the camera pit. Jay was awarded home to make it 3-2 St. Louis. "It just kind of sailed on me,'€ Breslow said. '€œI looked up and I saw that I definitely had a play there. I didn't make a good throw. That's not a throw I make too much, but it's one I need to make there. That could have been a big out for us. "Looking back at it, I still feel like it was the right play. I just didn't make the play." Carlos Beltran singled Descalso in one batter later to account for the 4-2 final. But the final run mattered little. The Red Sox scratched out one hit against rookie relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal in the final three innings. '€œI'€™m sure Craig would like to have hat ball back and hold it with a chance to shut down the inning right there,'€ Farrell said. '€œUncharacteristic of the way I think we'€™ve taken care of the baseball this year."

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