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Rosenthal in relief: Rookie gets win for Cards

October 27. 2013 1:36AM
Associated Press

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(AP) Instead of a five-out save, Trevor Rosenthal got a win. It's a trade anyone would make in the World Series.

A big reason the St. Louis Cardinals have a 2-1 series lead over the Boston Red Sox is the 23-year-old rookie pitched more than one inning as the closer, and was plenty resilient. Rosenthal surrendered two inherited runs that tied it in the eighth inning, then retired the side in order in the ninth in St. Louis' strange 5-4 Game 3 victory Saturday night.

While some of the St. Louis rookies showed some vulnerability, others came up big.

Kolten Wong made a dazzling defensive stop in the eighth on Daniel Nava's hard grounder that he nearly turned into an inning-ending double play. Former 41st-round draft pick Kevin Siegrist worked a perfect inning.

Setup man Carlos Martinez recorded one out in the eighth, leaving Rosenthal in a tough bind. Seth Maness gave up the tying single to Nava in the sixth before getting a double-play ball to stop it there.

The end result, though certainly unique with the winning run awarded on an obstruction call, was another win at home where they Cardinals have dominated all year. They have a chance to really take control with Lance Lynn (2-1, 5.40) facing Clay Buchholz (0-0, 5.40) in Game 4 on Sunday night.

They're 6-1 at Busch Stadium in the postseason after going 54-27 during the season, second-best in the majors. They're 70-43 at home in the franchise's postseason history.

Rosenthal struck out the side to save Game 2 in Boston and doesn't need to fret about the blown save. He threw more than an inning 12 times during the regular season, six of the outings scoreless.

Matt Holliday's two-run, tie-breaking double in the seventh put the back end of the bullpen in perfect position. It could have been a larger cushion.

The biggest missed opportunity came in the fourth when they settled for loading the bases with none out instead of taking the run the Red Sox conceded. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury threw to the infield on Jon Jay's single before third base coach Jose Oquendo gave Yadier Molina a stop sign, and St. Louis 8-9-1 hitters combined for two popups and a strikeout.

Four of the first five batters singled in the first, the lone out on Carlos Beltran's first career sacrifice bunt, with RBIs from Holliday and Molina. The rally ended there with two men stranded.

Holliday got hung up then erased in the third after center fielder Jacob Ellsbury dropped his shallow pop fly. Jake Peavy sprinted to cover second to thwart Holliday's bid for two bases and he was an easy out retreating to first.

Molina's RBI single in the first gave him a hit in six straight World Series games dating to Game 5 of the '11 Series. Starter Joe Kelly, who allowed two runs on two hits in 5 1-3 innings, has worked at least five innings in all 19 regular-season and postseason starts.

The sellout crowd of 47,432 was the largest for a baseball game at 8-year-old Busch. It's not the largest overall, however, with a soccer friendly matching Chelsea and Manchester City attracting more than 48,000 in May.

Associated Press

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