Red Sox take 3-2 lead

ST. LOUIS – 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 on Monday 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.

“The fact is we’re going home,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Going back to a place that our guys love to play in, in front of our fans.

“This atmosphere here, these three games, has been phenomenal. We know it’s going to be equal to that, if not better. And we’re excited about going home in the position we are.”

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

“The guys know what we have to do,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “We have to play the game. They have to lock arms, trust each other and play the game the right way. Most of it is going to be the mentality of not buying into any kind of stats, any kind of predictions, any kind of odds.”

Ortiz enjoyed even more success in Game 5 after moving up from cleanup to the third slot. He is 11-for-15 (.733) in the Series with two home runs, six RBIs and four walks. He left after legging out a hit, but Farrell said the slugger is OK.

Right fielder Shane Victorino, the only Maui-born All-Star in major league history, was out of the Red Sox lineup because of lower back stiffness for a second straight day.

Lester improved to 3-0 in Series starts.

“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 allowed one run and four hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven batters 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.”

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 against the Detroit Tigers in 1968.


Inherited runners-scored-Uehara 1-0.

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