Around the Major Leagues: Postseason Week 4

All the news from around MLB as the 2013 World Series is currently knotted at two games each.

2013 MLB World Series

Game 1: Boston 8, St Louis1

Starting pitchers for Game 1 were Adam Wainwright for St. Louis and Jon Lester for Boston. Wainwright tossed five innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out four batters. Lester picked up the victory, giving up no earned runs over 7 2/3, striking out eight batters.

Boston infielder Mike Napoli drove in three runs with his bases-loaded double in the first inning of the opener. Back in the 2011 World Series, Napoli drove in ten runs for the Texas Rangers in their series against the Cardinals, which is the highest total for any player in one postseason series against them. Napoli is the first player ever to register as many as 13 RBI within his first eight World Series games, and he is the first player since Reggie Jackson to drive in 13 or more runs over any span of eight Series games.

With Napoli's three runs in the first inning followed by a two-run second inning thanks to a single from Dustin Pedroia and a sacrifice fly by David Ortiz, the Red Sox became the first team in major-league history to put two or more runs on the scoreboard in each of the first two innings of a World Series opener.

Game 2: St. Louis 4 at Boston 2

Starting pitchers for Game 2 were Michael Wacha for St. Louis and John Lackey for Boston. Wacha went six innings and picked up his first World Series victory, allowing just three hits over six innings. He struck out six batters. Lackey picked up the loss by giving up three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.

Game 2 was all about the young pitching of the Cardinals. Michael Wacha (22 years old), Carlos Martinez (22) and Trevor Rosenthal (23) combined for 12 strikeouts and allowed only four hits. It is the first time in World Series history that a team has won a game using three or more pitchers, all of whom were younger than 24.

Wacha had allowed only one run in 26 innings this postseason before David Ortiz's go-ahead home run in the sixth inning. The only other pitchers in major-league history to allow no more than one run in their first 25 postseason innings as a starting pitcher are Christy Mathewson (1905), Babe Ruth (1916-18) and Don Sutton (1974).

The turning point in Game 2 of the World Series was the seventh-inning sacrifice fly by St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter after which catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and reliever Craig Breslow were each charged with errors. It was the first time in World Series history that a pitcher and a catcher committed errors on the same play.

Game 3: St. Louis 5, Boston 4

Starting pitchers for Game 3 were Joe Kelly for St. Louis and Jake Peavy for Boston. Kelly only gave up two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings of work with six strikeouts and three walks. Peavy yielded just two earned runs over four innings and struck out four.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the fourth inning while holding a 2-0 lead, but did not score thanks to Peavy pitching his way out of trouble. Nine of the last 10 teams to not score in a World Series inning in which they had the bases loaded and none out won the game. The only loser to do that was the 1988 Dodgers, who did not score despite having three men on base and nobody out in Game 3 at the Oakland Coliseum. The Dodgers went on to win that series anyway.

Speaking of the 1988 Dodgers, Allen Craig did something in Game 3 that hasn't been done since that very series. Craig is the first player to produce an extra-base hit as a pinch-hitter in the World Series and also score the walk-off winning run in that same inning since then-injured Kirk Gibson hobbled his way around the base paths after hitting a homer off Dennis Eckersley at Dodger Stadium.

Game 3 will probably forever be linked with its ending, however, as Allen Craig was awarded home thanks to the obstruction of Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks was officially assigned a fielding error on that play, making Saturday night's game the first in the World Series to end on an error since Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, when Mookie Wilson's 10th-inning grounder famously went through Bill Buckner's legs to give the Mets a win over… well, yeah, the Red Sox. No postseason game had ever before ended on an obstruction call though, making Saturday's ending just a bit odder.

Game 4: Boston 4 at St. Louis 2

Starting pitchers in Game 4 were Lance Lynn for St. Louis and Clay Buchholz for Boston. Lynn worked for 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits and striking out five. Buchholz only lasted four innings, but did not give up an earned run and struck out two.

Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes entered Game 4 with a .125 career average in the postseason, the lowest of any active player with at least 40 at-bats, which probably was not a very good indication that he would play much of a role when called upon. In fact, Gomes was 0-for-9 during this World Series before his heroics in the sixth inning of Game 4. He crushed a two-run, two-out home run off reliever Seth Maness to give the Red Sox a much-needed 4-1 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

David Ortiz collected a double and two singles in Game 4, going from a tie for seventh to a tie for fifth for the highest slugging percentage (.795) in World Series history. Ortiz was 3-for-3 with a walk and now has a .727 average in the Series.

If fans thought the ending of Game 3 was crazy, one would hope they tuned in for Game 4, which ended on an even more bizarre note. With the Cardinals down by two runs with two outs in the final frame, Allen Craig cracked a base hit over the right fielder's head and off the outfield wall. Due to an injury he sustained while scoring the winning run in Game 3, Craig was only able to reach first base. The Cards pinch ran with Kolten Wong and Carlos Beltran stepped up to the plate for a showdown with Boston closer Koji Uehara, representing the game's tying run. And then out of nowhere, Uehara caught Wong napping at first base and picked him off to end the game. It marks the first time in World Series history that a game ended with a pickoff. It was only the second pickoff of Uehara's career.

John Lopiano can be reached at Follow John on Twitter: @johnlopiano.

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