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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Rams have postponed quarterback Sam Bradford's knee surgery, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, due to swelling.

   Coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday no new date has been set for the procedure to repair a torn left ACL, but anticipated it would be soon. The team previously announced the surgery would be done by Dr. James Andrews, who also operated on the quarterback's shoulder at Oklahoma.

   Bradford has been exercising to strengthen the knee and quadriceps prior to surgery. He's also been on his feet a lot at practice and on game days.

   Backup Kellen Clemens makes his third straight start Sunday at Indianapolis.

 
Thursday, 07 November 2013 01:58
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MONTREAL (AP) -- T.J. Oshie scored in the shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Alexander Steen and Chris Stewart scored in regulation for St. Louis, and Jaroslav Halak had 25 saves. Halak also turned away three shots in the shootout.

Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival scored for Montreal (8-7-1), and Carey Price made 30 saves.

The Blues outshot the Canadiens 32-27 overall.

Tomas Plekanec had a chance to win it in regulation for Montreal. He was awarded a penalty shot in the final minute, but missed the net high and wide.

St. Louis opened the scoring at 2:38 of the first period when Steen collected his NHL-best 13th goal of the season.

Blues captain David Backes got it started by stealing the puck from defender Douglas Murray, who was playing softly behind his own net. Backes pushed Murray down and passed the puck to a wide-open Steen, who beat Price over his left shoulder.

Montreal tied it at 5:38 of the second period. Andrei Markov drove hard to the net, colliding with Halak in the process. With Halak still shaken up, the puck fell to Bourque in the crease, and he converted from in close.

Bournival put the Canadiens in front at 14:49 with his fourth of the year. He intercepted a poor pass from Jay Bouwmeester in the St. Louis zone and quickly fired a slap shot between Halak's legs.

Stewart tied it again at 10:31 of the third period when he deflected a Kevin Shattenkirk blue-line shot off the post and past Price.

Halak returned to Montreal for just the second time since being traded to the Blues in 2010. He earned a shutout in his other trip to Montreal in January 2012, winning 3-0.

David Desharnais was out of the Canadiens' lineup after a slow start to his season. The 27-year-old forward, who recently signed a four-year contract extension, has one point in 15 games this season.

NOTES: The Canadiens were coming off back-to-back road losses to the Wild and Avalanche. ... Montreal was without injured players Daniel Briere, Brandon Prust, Alexei Emelin and Travis Moen. There is no timetable yet for their return.

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 22:56
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Brett Connolly and Valtteri Filppula scored in the third period, lifting the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

Connolly, playing in his second game since being recalled from Syracuse of the AHL, put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2 when he redirected Radko Gudas' shot at 8:37 of the third. Filppula made it 4-2 with 3:59 remaining.

Alex Killorn had a goal and two assists and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning, who have won all five games this season against Western Conference teams.

St. Louis got goals from Alex Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz.

Stamkos scored his 11th goal of the season to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead 1:43 into the second during a 2-on-1. The center, who has a goal in four consecutive games, briefly dragged the puck before putting an in-close shot past Jaroslav Halak.

Schwartz got St. Louis even at 2-2 from the slot 2:02 after Stamkos' goal.

Pietrangelo extended his goal-scoring streak to four games and put the Blues up 1-0 at 7:50 of the first.

Killorn tied it at 1-all with 9:16 left in the first. It was the first even-strength goal allowed by St. Louis in 225 minutes, 55 seconds.

Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop turned aside a shot by Chris Stewart during a late first-period breakaway. Halak made nice saves on Stamkos and Martin St. Louis while the Blues were short-handed in the second.

 

NOTES: St. Louis' Alexander Steen, who picked up an assist, had his six-game goal streak end. He scored eight of his 12 goals this season during the stretch. ... Stamkos has six goals and 10 points during a six-game points streak. ... Lightning D Mark Barberio assisted on Stamkos' goal for his first NHL point.

Sunday, 03 November 2013 07:21
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Maty Mauk threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, leading No. 10 Missouri's dominant and resilient effort in a 31-3 victory over Tennessee Saturday night.

The Tigers (8-1, 4-1 SEC) responded smartly a week after squandering a 17-point cushion in the fourth quarter of a double-overtime loss to South Carolina. Andrew Baggett banged another chip-shot field goal attempt off the left goalpost, eerily similar to his game-ending misfire a week earlier, but instead of heartbreak they still took a 24-3 cushion into halftime.

Missouri forced three turnovers and committed none in Mauk's best game in three starts in place of injured James Franklin. Mauk had 114 yards on 13 carries, and threw touchdown passes to Dorial Green-Beckham, L'Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas in the first half. Franklin (shoulder sprain) warmed up before the game.

Tennessee (4-5, 1-4) is 0-4 on the road, all but one of them blowouts, and fell hopeless behind just like a week earlier when No. 1 Alabama was ahead 35-0 at the break. The Volunteers have lost 19 in a row on the road and mustered only a 51-yard field goal by Matt Palardy in the second quarter.

Freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs was intercepted twice and lost a fumble in his first career start in place of injured Justin Worley, out indefinitely after thumb surgery. Tennessee was 2 for 13 on third down.

E.J. Gaines and Braylon Webb had interceptions for Missouri and Matt White had a fumble recovery on a strip by Darvin Ruise. Missouri has forced a turnover in 39 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation.

Mauk entered with 22 yards rushing on 21 carries. His 27-yard scramble to the 11 with one second left in the half led to Baggett's 29-yard miss.

Dobbs had 101 yards passing and 43 rushing in the first half, dulled by two turnovers. Washington was alone in the end zone on a 26-yard catch set up by Gaines' team-leading interception to make it 17-0 midway through the second quarter.

Sunday, 03 November 2013 07:20
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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots for his first win of the season, and Alexander Steen scored for the sixth straight game as the St. Louis Blues beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Friday night.

Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Stewart and Derek Roy added goals, and Steen posted his NHL-leading 12th this season. David Backes had two assists for St. Louis, which won its third straight.

Elliott hadn't earned a win since April 27 against Chicago. His previous shutout was April 11 at Minnesota.

Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for Florida, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

Already ahead 1-0, the Blues broke the game open with three goals in just over five minutes in the second period.

St. Louis doubled its lead on Stewart's goal. Barret Jackman passed from the point to Stewart below the left circle for an angled shot from the side that got past Markstrom at 5:21.

The Blues stretched their lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal by Pietrangelo at 7:06. A drive by Backes was blocked by Markstrom, but Pietrangelo tipped in the rebound.

Steen finished the scoring when he wristed in a rebound at 10:42.

Roy put the Blues ahead in the first period with a backhander from the slot that hit the right post, bounced out, hit Markstrom's pads and drifted back across the goal line with 4:19 left in the first.

 

NOTES: Blues C Maxim Lapierre returned after serving a five-game suspension for a hit on San Jose's Dan Boyle on Oct. 15. ... The Blues played an NHL-low 10 games in October but will play 15 in November. ... The Panthers have lost four straight to the Blues, including a 7-0 rout on Oct. 5. ... Florida went 1-3-2 on a season-high, six game homestand.

Friday, 01 November 2013 22:23
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BOSTON (AP) -- There hasn't been a party like this in New England for nearly a century.

Turmoil to triumph. Worst to first.

David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, baseball's bearded wonders, capped their remarkable turnaround by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night to win their third World Series championship in 10 seasons.

Shane Victorino, symbolic of these resilient Sox, returned from a stiff back and got Boston rolling with a three-run double off the Green Monster against rookie sensation Michael Wacha.

John Lackey became the first pitcher to start and win a Series clincher for two different teams, allowing one run over 6 2-3 innings 11 years after his Game 7 victory as an Angels rookie in 2002.

With fans roaring on every pitch and cameras flashing, Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out. The Japanese pitcher jumped into the arms of catcher David Ross while Red Sox players rushed from the dugout and bullpen as the Boston theme "Dirty Water" played on the public-address system.

"I say I work inside a museum, but this is the loudest the museum's been in a long time," outfielder Jonny Gomes said.

And the Red Sox didn't have to fly the trophy home. For the first time since Babe Ruth's team back in 1918, Boston won the title at Fenway Park. The 101-year-old ballpark, oldest in the majors, was packed with 38,447 singing, shouting fans anticipating a celebration 95 years in the making.

There wasn't the cowboy-up comeback charm of "The Idiots" from 2004, who swept St. Louis to end an 86-year title drought. There wasn't that cool efficiency of the 2007 team that swept Colorado.

This time, they were Boston Strong - playing for a city shaken by the marathon bombings in April.

After late-season slumps in 2010 and 2011, the embarrassing revelations of a chicken-and-beer clubhouse culture that contributed to the ouster of manager Terry Francona, and the daily tumult of Bobby Valentine's one-year flop, these Red Sox grew on fans.

Just like the long whiskers on the players' faces, starting with Gomes' scruffy spring training beard.

"As soon as we went to Fort Myers, the movie's already been written," Gomes said. "All we had to do was press play, and this is what happened."

Ortiz, the only player remaining from the 2004 champs, was the MVP after a Ruthian World Series. He batted .688 (11 for 16) with two homers, six RBIs and eight walks - including four in the finale - for a .760 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances.

Even slumping Stephen Drew delivered a big hit in Game 6, sending Wacha's first pitch of the fourth into the right-center bullpen.

By the time the inning was over, RBI singles by Mike Napoli and Victorino had made it 6-0, and the Red Sox were on their way.

And now, all over New England, from Connecticut's Housatonic River up to the Aroostook in Maine, Boston's eighth championship can be remembered for the beard-yanking bonding.

The win capped an emotional season for the Red Sox, one heavy with the memory of the events that unfolded on Patriots Day, when three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox wore "Boston Strong" logos on their left sleeves and erected a large emblem on the Green Monster as a constant reminder.

A "B Strong" logo was mowed into center-field grass at Fenway.

"All those that were affected in the tragedy - Boston Strong!" Victorino said.

Red, white and blue fireworks fired over the ballpark as Commissioner Bud Selig presented the World Series trophy to Red Sox owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, leaving a smoky haze over the field.

"It was an awesome atmosphere here tonight," Lackey said.

Among the players blamed for the indifferent culture at the end of the Francona years, Lackey took the mound two days shy of the second anniversary of his elbow surgery and got his first Series win since the 2002 clincher. He pitched shutout ball into the seventh, when Carlos Beltran's RBI single ended the Cardinals' slump with runners in scoring position at 0 for 14.

Junichi Tazawa came in with the bases loaded and retired Allen Craig on an inning-ending grounder to first. Brandon Workman followed in the eighth and Uehara finished.

St. Louis had been seeking its second title in three seasons, but the Cardinals sputtered. Symbolic of the team's struggles, reliever Trevor Rosenthal tripped while throwing a pitch to Ortiz in the eighth, balking Dustin Pedroia to second.

Pedroia had brought back memories of Carlton Fisk's 1975 Game 6-winning home run, sending a first-inning drive about 10 feet foul of the Green Monster foul pole - and waving his left arm once to try to urge the ball fair as he came out of the batter's box.

Lackey escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the second when he retired Matt Adams and David Freese on flyouts and, after a wild pitch, struck out Jon Jay.

Boston wasted a similar threat in the bottom half, then went ahead on the third.

Jacoby Ellsbury singled leading off and went to second on Pedroia's grounder. Ortiz was intentionally walked, Napoli struck out and Gomes was hit above the left elbow with a pitch, loading the bases.

Victorino, wearing red, white and blue spikes with an American flag motif, had been 0 for 10 in the Series and missed the previous two games with a bad back.

Dropped from second to sixth in the batting order, he took two balls and a called strike, then turned on a 93 mph fastball and sent it high off the Green Monster, the 37-foot-high wall in left. Gomes slid home as Yadier Molina took Matt Holliday's one-hop throw and applied the tag, then argued with plate umpire Jim Joyce.

Victorino, pumped with emotion, went to third on the throw and pounded his chest with both fists three times.

After Drew's homer, Lance Lynn relieved Wacha with two on, and RBI singles by Napoli and Victorino boosted Boston's lead to 6-0. Wacha entered 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his postseason career but gave up six runs, five hits and four walks in 3 2-3 innings, the shortest start of the 22-year-old's big league career.

"They came up here and prepared and jumped on him, and got the big hits when they needed to," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Boston was a 30-1 underdog to win the World Series last winter but joined the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to win titles one season after finishing in last place. Now, the Red Sox will raise another championship flag before their home opener next season April 4 against Milwaukee.

The Red Sox had not played a Series Game 6 since that infamous night at New York's Shea Stadium in 1986, when Bill Buckner allowed Mookie Wilson's 10th-inning roller to get through his legs. And there had not been one at Fenway since Fisk's 12th-inning home run off the foul pole atop the Green Monster.

Following consecutive late-season skids, the Red Sox parted with Francona at the end of the 2011 season and reports emerged of players drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.

Valentine took over as manager, injuries caused Boston to use a club-record 56 players, and the Red Sox skidded to a 69-93 record, their poorest since 1965.

John Farrell, Boston's pitching coach from 2007-10, was hired after a pair of seasons as Toronto's manager.

A roster turnover began in August 2012 when Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and their big-money contracts were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that saved Boston just more than $261.66 million through 2018. The Red Sox restocked during the offseason by signing seven major league free agents for contracts of three years or fewer at a total of $100.45 million: Victorino, Napoli, Gomes, Drew, Uehara, Ryan Dempster and Ross.

After losing closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey to injuries early in the season, the Red Sox remained relatively healthy: Seventeen players wound up on the DL, down from 27. They finished 97-65 - matching St. Louis for the best record in the major leagues - and made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They also became the first team since the 2005 Cardinals to navigate the season without losing more than three in a row.

After falling behind 2-1, the Red Sox closed with three straight wins over St. Louis in a Series that featured a couple of crazy finishes and game-turning calls.

"Our guys have played real hard," Matheny said. "A lot to be proud of."

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 23:07
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored a power-play goal with 59.4 seconds left to break a tie and Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

The Blues, who won their second in a row, have recorded points in five successive games. Winnipeg has lost five of six. The Jets finish a four-game road trip with a 1-2-1 mark.

The Jets beat St. Louis 4-3 in a seven-round shootout on Oct. 18 in Winnipeg. Halak improved to 7-1-1. He is 5-2 lifetime in seven starts against Winnipeg.

Brenden Morrow and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Blues, who improved to 5-1-1 at home. Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler tallied for the Jets.

Steen scored his league-leading 11th goal off a pass from Jay Bouwmeester. Steen has goals in each of his last five games. Little tied the game 2-2 at 10:27 of the third period with a shorthanded goal. He tipped in a pass from Andrew Ladd, who finished with two assists.

Pietrangelo wristed a shot behind goalie Ondrej Pavelec at 4:16 of the final period to give the Blues a 2-1 cushion. It was Pietrangelo's second goal of the season and only his 31st in 234 games covering six seasons.

The Blues jumped in front 1-0 on Morrow's goal early in the first period off the rebound of a shot by Ryan Reaves.

Winnipeg tied the game on the goal by Wheeler at 11:20 of the first period. The Jets broke an 0-for-26 power-play drought with the two-man advantage. Wheeler converted on a rebound of a shot by Ladd for the Jets first power-play goal in nine games.

 

Notes: The Blues are 6-0-1 when scoring first. ... Winnipeg D Paul Postma will be sidelined up to two months with a blood clot in his leg. ... The Jets were playing in St. Louis for the first time since April 8, 1996 when the teams tied 2-2. ... Winnipeg LW Evander Kane played in his 275th. NHL game. ... The Jets have played 14 games in October, the busiest month in franchise history.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 23:31
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks completed a lousy night for St. Louis sports fans.

Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes to Golden Tate, and the Seahawks made a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve a 14-9 victory over the Rams on Monday night - less than an hour after the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox in the World Series just up the street.

The Seahawks (7-1), riding the best start in franchise history, were clinging to the lead when they were forced to punt with just over 5 minutes left in the game.

They managed to pin St. Louis at its own 3-yard line, but Kellen Clemens - starting at quarterback in place of the injured Sam Bradford - calmly marched the Rams (3-5) to the Seattle 1 as time wound down. Daryl Richardson was stuffed on third down, and Clemens threw a fade pass incomplete in the corner of the end zone on fourth down as time expired.

"The defense did a tremendous job, coming up with a huge stop there," Wilson said.

The Seahawks won despite gaining just 135 yards of total offense, 80 of it on Wilson's second TD pass to Tate, the third-fewest yards in a victory in franchise history.

Wilson was sacked a career-high seven times by the Rams defense.

"The defensive line, they were making plays," Wilson said. "We have to find a way to slow them down."

The World Series no doubt contributed to the stale atmosphere inside the Edward Jones Dome, where the announced crowd of 55,966 was in reality much smaller. Many of the fans who did show up wore Cardinals gear, and World Series highlights were shown on the big screen.

The Red Sox polished off their 3-1 victory in Game 5 just before the Rams embarked on their final drive - one that would ultimately leave the hometown crowd even more depressed.

Clemens finished with 158 yards passing for the Rams, but he also threw two interceptions, one of them to Richard Sherman. Zac Stacy ran for a career-high 134 yards.

"It's not always going to be pretty," Sherman said. "You have to be able to win ugly."

Greg Zuerlein staked St. Louis to an early lead with his first of three field goals, but Sherman's pick put the Seahawks in business. Seattle took advantage of his fourth interception of the season by scoring six players later, when Wilson hit Tate from the 2-yard line.

Zuerlein got the Rams within 7-6 late in the third quarter, but the Seahawks answered.

Two plays later, Wilson went deep down the sideline to Tate, who made an acrobatic leaping catch over Janoris Jenkins. Tate regained his balance and then mockingly waved at safety Rodney McLeod as he ran to the end zone, earning an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Zuerlein connected again to get St. Louis to 14-9, but he missed a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. That proved to be key because the Rams would have needed just another field goal from him on their final drive, rather than a touchdown, to steal the win.

The Rams stayed in the game largely thanks to their defense, which took advantage of the Seahawks missing starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini due to injuries. Robert Quinn had three sacks in the first half for St. Louis.

Seattle had minus-1 yard of offense in the first quarter, and 38 yards at the half, its fewest since gaining 37 in the first half against Kansas City in 1998, according to STATS LLC.

It didn't help that Seattle lost wide receiver Sidney Rice late in the first half with what the team called a knee injury. It wasn't clear which knee Rice hurt or when the injury occurred, but he headed to the locker room without his helmet and didn't return to the game.

Monday, 28 October 2013 23:11
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jon Lester pitched the Boston Red Sox within a whisker of yet another World Series championship.

Lester bested Adam Wainwright once again, journeyman David Ross hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and the Red Sox downed the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Monday night to take a 3-2 Series edge.

David Ortiz delivered his latest big hit, too, sending this bearded band of Red Sox back to Fenway Park with a chance to clinch their third crown in a decade. Not since 1918 has Boston won the title at its own ballpark.

John Lackey gets the first chance Wednesday night against St. Louis rookie sensation Michael Wacha. A Cardinals win would set up a most spooky proposition for both teams - Game 7 on Halloween night.

Ortiz enjoyed even more success in Game 5 after moving from the cleanup spot to the third slot. He is 11 for 15 (.733) in this Series with two homers, six RBIs and four walks.

Lester enhanced his reputation as an October ace with every pitch. He allowed one run and four hits in 7 2-3 innings, striking out seven without a walk. Nearly the same line he had in beating Wainwright in the opener.

"I think the biggest thing is me and Rossy have had a good rhythm," Lester said. "Early on, we just went back to our game plan from Game 1 and just fell back on that and really just tried to make them swing the bats early, and we were able to do that."

The lefty who's won all three of his career World Series starts had just one scary inning, when Matt Holliday homered in the fourth, Carlos Beltran flied out to the wall and Yadier Molina hit a liner. Other than that, Lester was sharp as a knife.

"He's just a stud," said Ross, the backup catcher who gets paired with Lester. "We rely on him. That's why he's the ace of our staff, because he goes out and pitches like that."

Lester's biggest brush with major trouble came well before his first pitch. He was getting loose near the warning track when a team of eight Clydesdales pulling a beer wagon came trotting by - it's a Busch Stadium tradition and Lester stood aside to watch the horses.

Koji Uehara closed for his second save. No crazy endings this time, either, following one night with an obstruction call and the next with Uehara's game-finishing pickoff.

Ortiz put the Red Sox ahead with an RBI double in the first, hitting the first pitch after Dustin Pedroia doubled on an 0-2 curve.

Ross, a graybeard on a team led by scraggly veterans, broke a 1-all tie when he hooked a drive just inside the left-field line, and the ball bounced into the seats for a go-ahead double.

"How about that? It's nice to drive in runs," Ross said. "I've got to credit the guys in front of me."

Jacoby Ellsbury later hit an RBI single, and Ross was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.

A day after Ortiz delivered a stirring, in-game pep talk to rev up the Red Sox, the Cardinals could've used some inspiration from Big Papi. That, or at least a visit from the good-luck Rally Squirrel from their 2011 title run.

The St. Louis hitters went quietly, a couple slinging their bats after routine popups and fly balls and others questioning the solid calls by plate umpire Bill Miller.

Holliday shook St. Louis' slumber and broke Lester's string with his second home run of the Series. Lester had pitched 16 1-3 scoreless innings in his first three World Series starts before Holliday tagged him.

That was all St. Louis got. Not even a revamped lineup that included the hobbled Allen Craig helped the Cards.

Ortiz hit an early double and single while swinging at first pitches, and tied the Series record by reaching base in nine straight plate appearances.

Wainwright changed things the next time Ortiz came up, varying his tempo and delivery. Ortiz still hit it hard while lining out to center.

Wainwright struck out 10 in seven innings, becoming the first Cardinals pitcher to reach double digits in the Series since Bob Gibson did it twice in 1968 against Detroit.

It was a big sports night in St. Louis, with an NFL game between the Rams and Seattle eight blocks away at the Edward Jones Dome. This is a baseball town, clearly: Football tickets sold for $10 on StubHub as kickoff approached, and fans inside the dome loudly booed when the World Series game was taken off the video board.

The baseball fans got to see Lester do more than pitch. He helped himself in the field, knocking down a hard comebacker and swiftly handling a bunt. He also made a dent with his bat, sort of.

Coming in with a career 0-for-31 mark at the plate, he nubbed a ball in front of the plate and was thrown out leading off the third. But at least he broke Wainwright's string of five straight strikeouts, one shy of the postseason record tied by Detroit's Justin Verlander against Boston in the AL championship series.

NOTES: A splinter from Daniel Nava's broken bat stuck in his neck when he grounded into a double play to end the Boston fourth. He stayed in the game. ... The Red Sox struck out 14 times, raising their total to a postseason-record 156. Boston began the day with 142, tied with the 2010 champion Giants. ... RF Shane Victorino was again out of the Red Sox lineup because of lower back stiffness. ... The Cardinals beat Texas in Game 7 exactly two years earlier.

Monday, 28 October 2013 22:38
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jonny Gomes got the Red Sox even in this wild World Series, thanks partly to Shane Victorino's aching back.

Inserted into the lineup about 75 minutes before gametime, Gomes hit a three-run homer off reliever Seth Maness in the sixth inning that led Boston to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night, tying the Series at two games apiece.

Felix Doubront and surprise reliever John Lackey, both starters during the regular season, picked up for a gritty Clay Buchholz to help the Red Sox ensure the Series will return to Boston.

And one night after that game-ending obstruction call, another unusual ending. Koji Uehara picked off rookie pinch-runner Kolten Wong at first base for the final out - with postseason star Carlos Beltran standing at the plate.

Game 5 is Monday night at Busch Stadium, with Boston left-hander Jon Lester facing Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in a rematch of the opener won 8-1 by the Red Sox.

Gomes helped get Boston started in the fifth when he followed David Ortiz's leadoff double with a 10-pitch walk that tired starter Lance Lynn, who had faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings.

Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly tied the score 1-all, erasing a deficit created when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury's third-inning error advanced Matt Carpenter into scoring position for Beltran's RBI single.

Ortiz, who homered in the first two games of the Series, had three of Boston's six hits and was the club's leader, smacking his hands together and screaming at teammates to get going when he pulled into second base on his double. Then, after the fifth inning, he huddled the Red Sox for a pep talk in the dugout.

Not long after, Gomes' drive put Boston ahead 4-1 in the sixth.

With adrenaline taking over, Gomes spiked an arm through the air as he rounded first base, yelled and banged his chest with a fist twice. Teammates tugged on Gomes' beard for good luck when he got back to the dugout, including a two-handed pull by Mike Napoli.

While talk of umpires' calls dominated discussion following two of the opening three games, this one turned on a manager's pregame decision.

John Farrell's original Red Sox lineup didn't include Gomes, but Victorino's back had been bothering him since Saturday, so Daniel Nava was moved from left field to right and from fifth to second in the batting order. Gomes was inserted into the No. 5 hole behind Ortiz.

Gomes had been 0 for 9 in the Series before the home run, and Red Sox outfielders had been 4 for 40 with no RBIs. Following Dustin Pedroia's two-out single and a four-pitch walk to Ortiz by Lynn, Maness threw five straight sliders to Gomes, who sent the last one into the Red Sox bullpen in left as Matt Holliday kept running back only to run out of room.

Carpenter singled in a run in the seventh off Craig Breslow in the seventh after pinch-hitter Shane Robinson doubled with two outs against Doubront on a ball that skidded away from Gomes. Junichi Tazawa came in and got Holliday to hit an inning-ending grounder to second, a night after allowing a tiebreaking, two-run double to Holliday.

Doubront got the win with 2 2-3 innings of one-hit relief. Lackey, the Game 2 loser and Boston's probable Game 6 starter, pitched the eighth for his first relief appearance in nine years, overcoming a two-base throwing error by third baseman Xander Bogaerts - Boston's seventh error of the Series - and a wild pitch.

With a runner on third, Lackey got Jon Jay to pop up and David Freese to ground out.

Uehara, Boston's sixth pitcher, got three outs for his sixth save this postseason, completing a six-hitter.

Lynn was the hard-luck loser, leaving with the score tied and two on for Maness, who allowed Gomes' homer on his fifth pitch.

A night after one of the craziest endings in Series history - an obstruction call on Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks - Boston ensured the Series will return to Fenway Park for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

It was a special anniversary for both teams. Exactly nine years earlier, the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Cardinals across the street at old Busch Stadium for their first championship since 1918. And two years earlier, Freese hit a tying, two-run, two-out triple in the ninth against Texas and a winning homer in the 11th to force a Game 7, which St. Louis won the following night.

Buchholz, in his first appearance since the AL championship series finale on Oct. 19, fought through shoulder issues and his velocity topped out at 90 mph. He lasted a season-low four innings and 66 pitches before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter, but he allowed just an unearned run and three hits.

Fielding for the Red Sox became trouble again in the third when Carpenter singled to center with one out, and the ball appeared to take a high hop and roll away from Ellsbury. Carpenter sprinted to second on the second error of the Series by Ellsbury - who had just three during the regular season.

Beltran singled into center field two pitches later, making him 8 for 10 with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position during the postseason.

There almost was another miscue in the fourth following a one-out walk to Jay. Freese bounced to Drew, and the shortstop grabbed the grounder on the run and flipped the ball with his glove high to Pedroia at second. He jumped and just got his left foot down in time to force Jay, who slid into him hard.

After Ortiz's double to the right-center field wall in the fifth, Gomes fell behind 0-2 in the count and then worked out his walk. Lynn appeared to be too fine with his pitches as he walked rookie Bogaerts, loading the bases, and Drew lofted a fly to medium left near the foul line.

Holliday's one-hop throw home hit the sliding Ortiz in the back and bounced away. Lynn recovered to strike out David Ross and induce an inning-ending groundout from pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

 

NOTES: St. Louis had been 8-0 this postseason when scoring first. ... Molina extended his Series hitting streak to seven games. ... Holliday argued with plate umpire Paul Emmel after he was called out on strikes in the fifth, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny came on the field to make sure his left fielder didn't get ejected.

Sunday, 27 October 2013 23:09
Published in Sports
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