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Red Sox close in on World Series with game five win

The Boston outfit had their pitcher to thank and both offences continue to struggle.

Jon Lester's pitching proved key for the Red Sox in game five.
Jon Lester's pitching proved key for the Red Sox in game five.
Image: Paul Sancya/AP/Press Association Images

BOSTON PITCHER JON Lester brought some consistency back into the World Series on Monday, following the chaotic finishes of the previous two contests between the Red Sox and St. Louis.

The 29-year-old starting pitcher struck out seven and allowed just one run on four hits en route to a 3-1 win over the Cardinals which put the Red Sox on the brink of their eighth World Series title in franchise history.

“We talked before the game and we felt it was going to be a classic pitchers’ duel,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Jon Lester was fantastic tonight.”

Strange endings were becoming the norm in this World Series as St. Louis won game three 5-4 on a game-ending interference call that allowed the winning run to score. Then on Monday, the Red Sox claimed game four 4-2 after St. Louis baserunner Kolten Wong was picked off at first base for the third out in the bottom of the ninth.

Monday’s contest was just an old-fashioned pitching duel between Red Sox Lester and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.

“You take gratification watching two guys at the peak of their games,” Farrell said.

The victory gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship series, which switches back to Boston’s Fenway Park for game six on Wednesday.

“We are going back to a place where our guys love to play,” said Farrell. “We are excited about going home in the position we are.”

Boston’s Japanese closer Koji Uehara recorded the final out of the contest by getting Matt Holliday on a routine fly out to right field.

The Red Sox are aiming for their first World Series title since 2007, while the Cardinals are trying to win their second in three years.

David Ortiz continued his hot hitting for the Red Sox as he batted three-for-four and is now 11-of-15 at the plate in the Series.

“I was born for this,” Ortiz said Monday.

Boston’s David Ross doubled to left field in the top of the seventh inning to score rookie Xander Bogaerts and break a 1-1 tie.

Boston tacked on another run in the same inning when Jacoby Ellsbury belted an RBI single to centre field.

Holliday scored the only run for the Cardinals with a solo home run that sailed a whopping 423 feet over the centre field wall.

The Red Sox struck first in the opening inning with back-to-back doubles by Dustin Pedroia followed by Ortiz off Wainwright.

Although he allowed the RBI double to Ortiz, Wainwright also struck out three in the first frame.

He pitched seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs. Wainwright fanned 10 batters as he rebounded from a disappointing performance in game one where he allowed five runs and six hits in five innings.

Even though Ortiz has provided the bulk of Boston’s offence in the Series, the Cardinals have surprisingly elected to pitch to him.

Ortiz is 19-for-41 in his career in the World Series which is the best average among any player with at least 50 at-bats.

“He is in a really good place right now,” Farrell said of Ortiz.

Ortiz has dominated St. Louis pitchers in the past two games and now the Redbirds need to win two games in Boston to claim the championship.

St. Louis have dropped two of three games at home in the Series after going 59-28 at Busch Stadium during the regular season.

“It is a challenge. We have to lock arms and trust each other,” said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny of going back to Boston. “We can’t buy into the odds, we have to just go out and play the game.”

The Red Sox will hand the ball to John Lackey for game six while the Cardinals will have Michael Wacha on the mound.

(C) AFP, 2013

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Steve O'Rourke

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