Cardinals get even

BOSTON – Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen provided the power pitching.

Carlos Beltran, injected with a painkiller, delivered a huge hit.

And this time, it was the Boston Red Sox who were tripped up by fielding failures.

Wacha bested John Lackey in a matchup of present and past rookie sensations, and St. Louis beat Bos-ton 4-2 on Thursday to even the World Series at a game apiece.

Beltran, an eight-time All-Star making his first Series appearance at age 36, hit an RBI single in the Cardinals’ three-run seventh inning.

“Somebody would have to kill me in order for me to get out of the lineup,” said Beltran, playing despite bruised ribs that landed him in the hospital a night earlier.

St. Louis went ahead earlier in the seventh when Matt Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly that led to a pair of runs, with the second scoring on errors by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and reliever Craig Breslow.

The Cardinals scored the game’s first run in the fourth – Matt Holliday tripled and then came home on Yadier Molina’s grounder – but David Ortiz put the Red Sox ahead in the sixth when he hit a two-run homer just over the Green Monster in left field.

That ended Wacha’s scoreless streak at 18 2/3 innings – a rookie record for a single postseason – but it was all he gave up.

The 22-year-old right-hander threw a career-high 114 pitches and allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in six innings with six strikeouts. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four outings this postseason, equaling the regular-season win total of his brief career.

“They don’t swing at bad pitches, really,” Wacha said. “They did a good job tonight grinding out at-bats with me and got the pitch count up.”

Wacha’s parents and sister made the trip from Texarkana, Texas, and sat bundled in cold-weather clothes in the Fenway Park stands to watch the 19th pick in last year’s draft.

St. Louis’ hard-throwing bullpen combined for one-hit relief. Carlos Martinez got six outs, retiring Mike Napoli on an inning-ending popup with two on in the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side on 11 pitches in the ninth for a save, whiffing Daniel Nava with a 99 mph fastball to end it.

Beltran was hurt Wednesday while banging into the right-field fence to rob Ortiz of a grand slam. Beltran appeared to be wearing protective padding under his jersey Thursday.

“When I left the ballpark yesterday, I had very little hope that I was going to be in the lineup with the way I felt,” he said. “When I woke up, I woke up feeling a little better. And I came to the ballpark, talked to the trainer. I was able to get treatment and talk to the doctors, and find a way to try anything I could try just to go out there and feel no pain.”

He said he took an injection of Toradol to block the pain for five or six hours.

“The good thing is tomorrow I have the day off,” he said.

The Series resumes Saturday in St. Louis.

“Excited to get home. I know everybody is,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose team committed three errors in a Game 1 loss.

Lackey allowed three runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings as Boston lost for the first time in 10 Series games.

“We’ve got to go out there and play better than we did tonight,” Ortiz said. “Nobody can dictate that you’re going to win four straight games every time you go out there for the World Series.”


Umpires-Home, Mark Wegner; First, Dana DeMuth; Second, Paul Emmel; Third, Bill Miller; Right, John Hirschbeck; Left, Jim Joyce.

T-3:05. A-38,436 (37,499).