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ST. LOUIS – Seth Maness was among the St. Louis Cardinals' pleasant pitching surprises, getting his first call-up in May and finishing the year as the National League's best reliever at inducing the double-play ball.
The last two games, the Boston Red Sox have roughed the kid up.
Replacing Lance Lynn with two outs and two on in the sixth inning of Game 4 on Sunday night, the sinkerballing Maness gave up a tiebreaking three-run homer to Jonny Gomes and the Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-2 in a World Series that is even at 2-all.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny chose to replace Lynn even though he had thrown only 89 pitches and faced the minimum through four innings.
The move backfired and now St. Louis seeks a bounce-back start from ace Adam Wainwright in a rematch against Jon Lester in Game 5 Monday night. The World Series is going head to head with the Rams' game against the dominant Seattle Seahawks.
The 25-year-old Maness allowed just seven of 58 inherited runners to score all season, giving the Cardinals an effective bridge to the back end of the bullpen. In the postseason, though, he's inherited 11 runners, and six of them have scored. He yielded a tying single Saturday night in a game the Cardinals ended up winning 5-4 on an obstruction call in the ninth inning.
The offense had a letdown in Game 4, too, failing to take advantage of Clay Buchholz, who was pitching with weakness in his shoulder, and mustering five hits.
Kolten Wong became the first player to be picked off to end a World Series game, when he was pinch-running for Allen Craig.
Matt Holliday was 0 for 4 and missed a chance to build on a two-out rally in the seventh. Pinch- hitter Shane Robinson doubled, leadoff man Matt Carpenter's RBI single cut the deficit to 4-2 and Carlos Beltran walked before Holliday grounded out against Junichi Tazawa.
Beltran earned his team-leading 14th RBI this postseason, second of the Series and 39th career RBI. He's three away from a tie for 10th all-time with Jorge Posada and Jim Edmonds, both of whom had a lot more opportunities.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury fumbled the ball giving Carpenter an extra base on a one-out single in the third, and Carpenter scored without a play on Beltran's single.
Just like Joe Kelly the night before, Lynn retired the Red Sox in order the first time through the order. David Ortiz got an infield hit on a hard grounder up the middle that the pitcher deflected with his foot, but was followed quickly by Gomes' double-play ball.
Lynn got three easy outs in the fourth, too, against the top of the Boston lineup. But he struggled in the fifth when the Red Sox tied it on a leadoff double by David Ortiz, two walks and a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew.