The St. Louis Cardinals could have all but ended the World Series on Oct. 27. With the Cardinals holding a 2-1 lead, home field and pitching advantage, and the momentum from a controversial Game 3 ending, the Boston Red Sox could have rolled over then and there. Instead, St. Louis let Boston back into the World Series with one swing and one pickoff, as the 4-2 loss set up the Cardinals' own do-or-die scenario on Oct. 28.
The Red Sox were reeling from two straight losses and an obstruction call to end Game 3, and had no choice but to send a weak Clay Buchholz out for Game 4. The Cardinals got to Buchholz with a run in the third, yet they got nothing else in four innings against the worn out ace. This gave the Red Sox time to tie things up and then break things open in the sixth.
With two outs, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz got on base, as they almost always do in this series. This resulted in Lance Lynn being lifted for Seth Maness, who faced last-minute starter Jonny Gomes -- and promptly gave up a three-run homer. This allowed the Red Sox to absorb a seventh-inning Cardinals run, as well as an eighth-inning threat stopped by temporary reliever John Lackey.
In the ninth, postseason legend Carlos Beltran had a chance to tie the game with one swing and two outs. Allen Craig had hit a long ball that he could only stretch into a single, then was lifted for pinch runner Kolten Wong -- who was picked off by closer Koji Uehara for the final out before Beltran could do anything.
With the pick off ending canceling out the obstruction one, the Cardinals are now canceled out in the World Series as a whole. Instead of getting to end it all with three straight home wins, like in 2006, St. Louis would have to win two straight games in Boston if it doesn't recover in Game 5.
The Cardinals should be in good shape with Adam Wainwright in Game 5, although Wainwright has struggled in his last two starts and Game 1 star Jon Lester is back for the Red Sox. In any case, the expected has been in short supply in this World Series.
The best-of-three finale begins at 8:07 p.m. est on FOX.