Adam Wainwright was much better in his second start of the World Series. Still, the St. Louis Cardinals needed a lot more from their ace.
The 19-game winner was outpitched again Jon Lester, losing to the Red Sox 3-1 in Game 5 on Monday night.
Despite an impressive 10 strikeouts, Wainwright has put the Cardinals in a 3-2 hole. To win the World Series for the second time in three years, they'll have to rally on the road without him.
St. Louis will turn to rookie Michael Wacha, the team's best pitcher this postseason at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA. And the way the Cardinals' offense has struggled, they'll likely need another lights-out performance from the 22-year-old NLCS MVP in Game 6 on Wednesday night in Boston against John Lackey.
Matt Holliday's 427-foot home run to straightaway center in the fourth was the lone run against Lester, who permitted one run in 15 1-3 innings in two superb starts against St. Louis.
Wainwright is the first Cardinals pitcher to reach double-digit strikeouts in the World Series since Hall of Famer Bob Gibson did it twice against the Detroit Tigers in 1968, one a Series record 17.
Unlike the opener, when he was roughed up in an 8-1 loss, Wainwright gave up only an RBI double to David Ortiz in the first inning, until the Red Sox rallied for two runs in the seventh inning.
Boston had three hits in the seventh, the go-ahead drive coming on David Ross' ground-rule double. Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI single.
Wainwright was 4-0 in his postseason career before a tough-luck loss in Game 3 of the NLCS. Now he's lost three in a row.
Aided by Daniel Nava's double-play ball ending the fourth that cancelled out Ortiz's second straight hit, Wainwright retired 11 in a row including a run of five straight strikeouts.
Three straight Cardinals hit Lester hard in the fourth and Holliday's blast tied it, giving him four homers and 10 RBIs in the postseason.