The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are proving to be so evenly matched that only a rare call could separate the teams.
The Cardinals came out on the good side of an obstruction ruling in the ninth inning of Game 3 to grab a 2-1 lead in the World Series and will try to make it 3-1 when they host the Red Sox in Game 4 on Sunday. Allen Craig scored the game-winning run thanks to that obstruction call at third base but may have suffered an injury on the play.
Craig had to slide into third, stumble over Will Middlebrooks and slide into home on the final play of Game 3 and clearly came out limping while his team celebrated around him.
Both Boston and St. Louis had problems in the bullpen Saturday, making it two games in a row that the Red Sox middle relief crew let a series of inherited runners score in a loss. The Cardinals are getting offense from Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina while Boston is forced to choose between David Ortiz and Mike Napoli at first base.
TV: 8:07 p.m., FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Clay Buchholz (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (0-0, 5.40)
Buchholz was the No. 2 starter during the ALCS but was pushed to Game 4 of the World Series because of shoulder fatigue. The 29-year-old went through an intense throwing session Friday and is ready to go but likely will be backed up by long reliever Ryan Dempster. Buchholz was not able to go more than 85 pitches in either of his two ALCS starts against Detroit.
Lynn could be on a short leash as well after topping out at 83 pitches in his two previous starts this postseason. The 26-year-old surrendered two runs on six hits over 5⅓ innings at Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NLCS but issued three walks. Lynn is 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA in nine career interleague games — six starts.
1. Red Sox LHP Craig Breslow allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits, one walk and one hit-by-pitch while recording one out in the last two games.
2. St. Louis is 13-1 in its last 14 postseason games at home.
3. Boston C Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts in his last three postseason games.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 5, Cardinals 4