St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - This evenly-matched World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals was fittingly tied 1-1 through six innings in Game 5 at Busch Stadium.
As if there were any other way in this roller-coaster Fall Classic.
Boston's David Ortiz doubled in a run in the first inning, St. Louis' Matt Holliday belted a solo homer in the fourth and Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright were their typical stingy selves in this pivotal matchup.
Wainwright, trying to bounce back from a loss to Lester in Game 1, fanned nine and scattered five hits for the Cardinals, who have recorded just three hits off Boston's ace.
Ortiz singled in his second at-bat to tie Billy Hatcher's World Series record of reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances. His otherworldly string ended with a lineout in the sixth, but the slugger was still hitting .714 (10-for-14) in the series.
John Farrell slightly moved Boston's lineup around, and the tweaks paid off early when Dustin Pedroia, batting second instead of third, lined an 0-2 breaking ball to the left-field wall for a two-bagger in the first inning.
Ortiz followed with a sharp ground ball past the first-base bag and Pedroia scored on the double, giving Ortiz 14 RBI in his World Series career to match Dwight Evans' club record.
Lester cruised through the first three innings. The left-hander erased Carlos Beltran in the second on a double-play ball of the bat of a hobbled Allen Craig, then stranded David Freese in scoring position an inning later by freezing Matt Carpenter with a payoff pitch for his fourth punchout.
After catching Shane Robinson looking to start the fourth, Lester made his first costly mistake as Holliday got his hands inside a 93 m.p.h. fastball and muscled it to straightaway center for his second home run of the series.
The blast snapped Lester's impressive scoreless innings streak in the Fall Classic, which was at 13 1/3 innings in two previous World Series starts.
Beltran flew out to the wall three pitches later, and Stephen Drew made a leaping grab to rob Yadier Molina of a hit to end the inning. Lester retired the side in the fifth and sixth frames.
Boston threatened in the fifth and came up empty. Xander Bogaerts and David Ross each singled around Drew's flyout to the warning track, Lester struck out trying to bunt the runners over and Jacoby Ellsbury went down swinging on a ball out of the strike zone.
It was the 43rd time the World Series was tied 2-2. The Game 5 winner has won it all 64.3 percent of the time, though seven of the last 10 losers of this pivotal contest have rallied to capture the championship.