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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- 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 Monday night 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.

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

Ortiz enjoyed even more success in Game 5 after moving from the cleanup spot to the third slot. He is 11 for 15 (.733) in this Series with two homers, six RBIs and four walks.

Lester enhanced his reputation as an October ace with every pitch. He allowed one run and four hits in 7 2-3 innings, striking out seven 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."

The lefty who's won all three of his career World Series starts had just one scary inning, when Matt Holliday homered in the fourth, Carlos Beltran flied out to the wall and Yadier Molina hit a liner. Other than that, Lester was sharp as a knife.

"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's biggest brush with major trouble came well before his first pitch. He was getting loose near the warning track when a team of eight Clydesdales pulling a beer wagon came trotting by - it's a Busch Stadium tradition and Lester stood aside to watch the horses.

Koji Uehara closed for his second save. No crazy endings this time, either, following one night with an obstruction call and the next with Uehara's game-finishing pickoff.

Ortiz put the Red Sox ahead with an RBI double in the first, hitting the first pitch after Dustin Pedroia doubled on an 0-2 curve.

Ross, a graybeard on a team led by scraggly veterans, broke a 1-all tie when he hooked a drive just inside the left-field line, and the ball bounced into the seats for a go-ahead double.

"How about that? It's nice to drive in runs," Ross said. "I've got to credit the guys in front of me."

Jacoby Ellsbury later hit an RBI single, and Ross was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.

A day after Ortiz delivered a stirring, in-game pep talk to rev up the Red Sox, the Cardinals could've used some inspiration from Big Papi. That, or at least a visit from the good-luck Rally Squirrel from their 2011 title run.

The St. Louis hitters went quietly, a couple slinging their bats after routine popups and fly balls and others questioning the solid calls by plate umpire Bill Miller.

Holliday shook St. Louis' slumber and broke Lester's string with his second home run of the Series. Lester had pitched 16 1-3 scoreless innings in his first three World Series starts before Holliday tagged him.

That was all St. Louis got. Not even a revamped lineup that included the hobbled Allen Craig helped the Cards.

Ortiz hit an early double and single while swinging at first pitches, and tied the Series record by reaching base in nine straight plate appearances.

Wainwright changed things the next time Ortiz came up, varying his tempo and delivery. Ortiz still hit it hard while lining out to center.

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 in 1968 against Detroit.

It was a big sports night in St. Louis, with an NFL game between the Rams and Seattle eight blocks away at the Edward Jones Dome. This is a baseball town, clearly: Football tickets sold for $10 on StubHub as kickoff approached, and fans inside the dome loudly booed when the World Series game was taken off the video board.

The baseball fans got to see Lester do more than pitch. He helped himself in the field, knocking down a hard comebacker and swiftly handling a bunt. He also made a dent with his bat, sort of.

Coming in with a career 0-for-31 mark at the plate, he nubbed a ball in front of the plate and was thrown out leading off the third. But at least he broke Wainwright's string of five straight strikeouts, one shy of the postseason record tied by Detroit's Justin Verlander against Boston in the AL championship series.

NOTES: A splinter from Daniel Nava's broken bat stuck in his neck when he grounded into a double play to end the Boston fourth. He stayed in the game. ... The Red Sox struck out 14 times, raising their total to a postseason-record 156. Boston began the day with 142, tied with the 2010 champion Giants. ... RF Shane Victorino was again out of the Red Sox lineup because of lower back stiffness. ... The Cardinals beat Texas in Game 7 exactly two years earlier.

Monday, 28 October 2013 22:38
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jonny Gomes got the Red Sox even in this wild World Series, thanks partly to Shane Victorino's aching back.

Inserted into the lineup about 75 minutes before gametime, Gomes hit a three-run homer off reliever Seth Maness in the sixth inning that led Boston to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night, tying the Series at two games apiece.

Felix Doubront and surprise reliever John Lackey, both starters during the regular season, picked up for a gritty Clay Buchholz to help the Red Sox ensure the Series will return to Boston.

And one night after that game-ending obstruction call, another unusual ending. Koji Uehara picked off rookie pinch-runner Kolten Wong at first base for the final out - with postseason star Carlos Beltran standing at the plate.

Game 5 is Monday night at Busch Stadium, with Boston left-hander Jon Lester facing Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in a rematch of the opener won 8-1 by the Red Sox.

Gomes helped get Boston started in the fifth when he followed David Ortiz's leadoff double with a 10-pitch walk that tired starter Lance Lynn, who had faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings.

Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly tied the score 1-all, erasing a deficit created when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury's third-inning error advanced Matt Carpenter into scoring position for Beltran's RBI single.

Ortiz, who homered in the first two games of the Series, had three of Boston's six hits and was the club's leader, smacking his hands together and screaming at teammates to get going when he pulled into second base on his double. Then, after the fifth inning, he huddled the Red Sox for a pep talk in the dugout.

Not long after, Gomes' drive put Boston ahead 4-1 in the sixth.

With adrenaline taking over, Gomes spiked an arm through the air as he rounded first base, yelled and banged his chest with a fist twice. Teammates tugged on Gomes' beard for good luck when he got back to the dugout, including a two-handed pull by Mike Napoli.

While talk of umpires' calls dominated discussion following two of the opening three games, this one turned on a manager's pregame decision.

John Farrell's original Red Sox lineup didn't include Gomes, but Victorino's back had been bothering him since Saturday, so Daniel Nava was moved from left field to right and from fifth to second in the batting order. Gomes was inserted into the No. 5 hole behind Ortiz.

Gomes had been 0 for 9 in the Series before the home run, and Red Sox outfielders had been 4 for 40 with no RBIs. Following Dustin Pedroia's two-out single and a four-pitch walk to Ortiz by Lynn, Maness threw five straight sliders to Gomes, who sent the last one into the Red Sox bullpen in left as Matt Holliday kept running back only to run out of room.

Carpenter singled in a run in the seventh off Craig Breslow in the seventh after pinch-hitter Shane Robinson doubled with two outs against Doubront on a ball that skidded away from Gomes. Junichi Tazawa came in and got Holliday to hit an inning-ending grounder to second, a night after allowing a tiebreaking, two-run double to Holliday.

Doubront got the win with 2 2-3 innings of one-hit relief. Lackey, the Game 2 loser and Boston's probable Game 6 starter, pitched the eighth for his first relief appearance in nine years, overcoming a two-base throwing error by third baseman Xander Bogaerts - Boston's seventh error of the Series - and a wild pitch.

With a runner on third, Lackey got Jon Jay to pop up and David Freese to ground out.

Uehara, Boston's sixth pitcher, got three outs for his sixth save this postseason, completing a six-hitter.

Lynn was the hard-luck loser, leaving with the score tied and two on for Maness, who allowed Gomes' homer on his fifth pitch.

A night after one of the craziest endings in Series history - an obstruction call on Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks - Boston ensured the Series will return to Fenway Park for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

It was a special anniversary for both teams. Exactly nine years earlier, the Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Cardinals across the street at old Busch Stadium for their first championship since 1918. And two years earlier, Freese hit a tying, two-run, two-out triple in the ninth against Texas and a winning homer in the 11th to force a Game 7, which St. Louis won the following night.

Buchholz, in his first appearance since the AL championship series finale on Oct. 19, fought through shoulder issues and his velocity topped out at 90 mph. He lasted a season-low four innings and 66 pitches before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter, but he allowed just an unearned run and three hits.

Fielding for the Red Sox became trouble again in the third when Carpenter singled to center with one out, and the ball appeared to take a high hop and roll away from Ellsbury. Carpenter sprinted to second on the second error of the Series by Ellsbury - who had just three during the regular season.

Beltran singled into center field two pitches later, making him 8 for 10 with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position during the postseason.

There almost was another miscue in the fourth following a one-out walk to Jay. Freese bounced to Drew, and the shortstop grabbed the grounder on the run and flipped the ball with his glove high to Pedroia at second. He jumped and just got his left foot down in time to force Jay, who slid into him hard.

After Ortiz's double to the right-center field wall in the fifth, Gomes fell behind 0-2 in the count and then worked out his walk. Lynn appeared to be too fine with his pitches as he walked rookie Bogaerts, loading the bases, and Drew lofted a fly to medium left near the foul line.

Holliday's one-hop throw home hit the sliding Ortiz in the back and bounced away. Lynn recovered to strike out David Ross and induce an inning-ending groundout from pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

 

NOTES: St. Louis had been 8-0 this postseason when scoring first. ... Molina extended his Series hitting streak to seven games. ... Holliday argued with plate umpire Paul Emmel after he was called out on strikes in the fifth, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny came on the field to make sure his left fielder didn't get ejected.

Sunday, 27 October 2013 23:09
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Allen Craig slid home and it sure looked as though he was out.

Didn't matter.

A rare obstruction call by an umpire let Craig score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, finishing off a mad-cap play that sent the St. Louis Cardinals over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Saturday night for a 2-1 lead in the World Series.

It was as crazy an ending in a World Series game as anyone had seen, and created a wild scene at home plate. The Cardinals rushed out to congratulate an ailing Craig while the Red Sox rushed to the exact same spot to argue the call.

A walk-off win? More like a trip-off.

"I'm in shock right now," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. "Wow, it's unbelievable."

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks tripped Craig after a wild throw got away following Jon Jay's ninth-inning grounder.

Boston tied the score with two runs in the eighth before Molina singled with one out in the ninth off loser Brandon Workman. Craig, just back from a sprained foot, pinch hit and lined Koji Uehara's first pitch down the left-field line for a double that put runners on second and third.

With the infield in, Jay hit a grounder to diving second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He made a sensational stab and threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina.

But then Saltalamacchia threw wide of third while trying to get Craig. After the ball got by, Middlebrooks, with his stomach on the field, raised both legs and tripped Craig, slowing him down as he tried to take off for home plate.

Third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately signaled obstruction, and even though a sliding Craig was tagged by Saltalamacchia at the plate following the throw by left fielder Daniel Nava, plate umpire Dana DeMuth signaled safe and then pointed to third, making clear the obstruction had been called.

"It's part of the game," Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday said. "The guy was in his way. ... We'll take it."

Craig returned for this Series from a sprained left foot that had sidelined him since early September. After an awkward slide on the final play, he hobbled off the field in apparent discomfort.

The Red Sox scored twice in the eighth inning to tie it 4-all. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch for the sixth time this postseason. Both runners moved up on Pedroia's groundout, and David Ortiz was intentionally walked.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went to hard-throwing closer Trevor Rosenthal with the bases loaded, hoping for a five-out save from a rookie who has looked almost untouchable this October. But the Red Sox pushed two runs across.

Daniel Nava drove in one with a short-hop grounder that was smothered by second baseman Kolten Wong, who had just entered on defense in a double-switch.

Wong went to second for the forceout, but Nava beat the relay and Ellsbury scored to make it 4-3. Xander Bogaerts tied it when he chopped a single up the middle.

Brandon Workman jammed Holliday and retired the slugger on a routine fly with two on to end the bottom of the eighth. That sent the game to the ninth tied at 4.

Holliday's two-run double puts the Cardinals on top 4-2 in the seventh.

It was a tough inning for Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow. Matt Carpenter reached safely when he checked his swing on an infield single to shortstop. Carlos Beltran was grazed on the elbow pad by a pitch - making no effort to get out of the way.

Beltran, in fact, almost appeared to stick his elbow out just a tiny bit to make sure the ball made contact.

Junichi Tazawa came on and Holliday pulled a grounder past Middlebrooks at third. The ball kicked into the left-field corner and Holliday went all the way to third on the throw to the plate.

Tazawa then got a couple of strikeouts and prevented further damage.

It was Middlebrooks' first inning in the field. He entered as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh and took over at third base in the bottom half.

That shifted Bogaerts to shortstop - and neither one was able to make the difficult defensive play Boston needed in that inning.

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly, one of the few major league pitchers to wear glasses on the mound, set down his first nine batters. The Red Sox seemed to see him better the next time around in coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

Bogaerts opened the fifth with a triple that banged-up right fielder Beltran couldn't quite reach. The rookie later scored on a grounder by pinch-hitter Mike Carp.

Slumping Shane Victorino drew a leadoff walk from Kelly in the sixth and wound up scoring the tying run. Ortiz grounded a single off lefty reliever Randy Choate, and Nava greeted Seth Maness with an RBI single that made it 2-all.

Their fielding woes from Game 1 far behind them, the slick-fielding Cardinals made several sharp plays. Kelly barehanded a one-hopper, Carpenter threw out a runner from his knees up the middle and third baseman David Freese backhanded a line drive.

St. Louis quickly broke ahead, scoring in the first inning for the first time this October on RBI singles by Holliday and Molina. After the Cardinals got three hits in a span of four pitches, Red Sox reliever Felix Doubront began heating up in a hurry before Jake Peavy settled down.

Peavy wriggled out of bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth to keep the Cardinals' lead at 2-0. He got some help, too, from St. Louis third base coach Jose Oquendo.

With runners on first and second, Jon Jay hit a sharp single to center. The Red Sox were conceding a run and ready to let Molina score from second, but Oquendo held up the slow-footed catcher.

Peavy actually lowered his career postseason ERA by more than a full run, down to 9.27 in five winless starts.

A day before Kelly and Peavy faced each other, they sounded totally different.

Kelly kidded about his pregame preparation: He stays up all night taking on his Twitter followers, shooting away in "Call of Duty," the popular first-person war video game.

Peavy, meanwhile, was already ramped up and ready to go.

"This is what I've lived for my whole life," he said Friday. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, physically, mentally."

NOTES: Cardinals Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Red Schoendienst took part in the first-ball festivities, with fan favorite Willie McGee tossing the pitch. ... At 21, Bogaerts became the third-youngest player to hit a triple in a World Series. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle did it at 20. ... Molina has a six-game hitting streak in World Series play. ... The family of late umpire Wally Bell was in the stands. Bell died at 48 this month, and the six-man crew is wearing patches to honor him. Bell's first plate job in the World Series was at this ballpark in 2006.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 23:57
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored two goals to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

T.J. Oshie, Jaden Schwartz, Derek Roy and Alex Pietrangelo also scored for the Blues, who had lost three of four.

Nick Spaling scored for Nashville, which has lost two of three as it sets out on a season-long seven-game road trip.

St. Louis has won four straight in Nashville for the first time.

Steen scored the game's first goal at 5:27 of the opening period.

With the Blues on a power play, Steen beat Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton with a wrist shot from above the left faceoff dot. A screen from teammate Chris Stewart helped Steen score his ninth of the season.

Oshie and Schwartz scored 4:02 apart in the second period to send the Blues into the second intermission up 3-0.

Spaling got the Predators on the board with a short-handed goal less than a minute into the third when he got his first goal of the season on breakaway, beating St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak on the stick side.

The Blues put the game out of reach after Steen scored his second of the game at 4:37 and Roy followed at 7:48.

Steen has 10 goals so far this season after getting just eight in 40 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Hutton was lifted following Roy's goal. He was replaced by Magnus Hellberg, who was recalled Thursday after No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne had surgery to clear up an infection in the hip that he had surgically repaired in the offseason.

Jay Bouwmeester, David Backes, and Vladimir Tarasenko each had two assists for the Blues.

NOTES: Derek Roy played in his 600th career NHL game. . Blues LW Magnus Paajarvi sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game. . Before Saturday, Nashville had gone seven games without allowing a power-play goal.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 22:38
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Connor Shaw came off the bench in the second half to lead a 17-point rally, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Elliott Fry kicked the go-ahead field goal in the second overtime to help No. 20 South Carolina stun No. 5 Missouri 27-24 on Saturday night.

After Fry put the Gamecocks ahead from 40 yards out, Missouri's Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard attempt off the left goal post.

Missouri (7-1, 3-1) could have all but locked up the SEC East with a victory, instead South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) moves to within one game of the Tigers for the division lead, with home games against Mississippi State and Florida remaining.

A sprain left knee kept Shaw from starting, but he entered the game in the third quarter and helped the Gamecocks score the final 17 points of regulation. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the Gamecocks' first overtime to match the Tigers' Marcus Murphy's 1-yard scamper.

Shaw engineered fourth-quarter scoring drives of 65, 69 and 63 yards, and the Gamecocks knotted the score at 17 on a two-yard reception by Nick Jones with 42 seconds remaining. Ellington scored his first touchdown on a 6-yard catch with 12:13 remaining, and Elliott Fry added a 20-yard field goal with 5:03 left.

Mike Davis caught three screen passes on South Carolina's final scoring drive in regulation, partly making up for two fumbles in the first half. The Gamecocks turned the ball over three consecutive times in the second quarter, helping Missouri take a 14-0 halftime lead.

Davis, who led the conference with 125.6 rushing yards per game entering the night, committed his first miscue at the Missouri 29-yard line with 12:30 remaining in the half, and his second halted a 71-yard drive at the Tigers' 2-yard line with 5:46 left. He finished the night with 51 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards while backup Shon Carson added 27 on the ground and 14 through the air.

Davis' second fumble set the stage for a 96-yard touchdown pass from Mauk to L'Damian Washington on Missouri's ensuing drive. Two yards deep in his own end zone, Mauk found Washington streaking toward the middle of the field for an easy first down, and then the receiver eluded two tackles at his 45-yard line before being untouched the rest of the way. The pass was Missouri's longest since a 98-yarder from Pete Woods to Joe Stewart at Nebraska in 1976.

Mauk struggled out of the gate, throwing a pass dropped by defender Sharrod Golightly and then an interception to Kaiwan Lewis, a far cry from the 41-yard pass and 20-yard touchdown toss he threw in his opening attempts last week in a 36-17 win against Florida. But Mauk then completed three of his next four to set up Missouri's first touchdown, an 11-yard scamper by Murphy with 1:23 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers added a 27-yard field goal by Baggett with 6:46 left in the third quarter before he missed a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter wide left.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 22:36
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A pair of backup quarterbacks will have a big say in the Southeastern Conference East Division race this weekend.

After defeating Florida 36-17 in his first career start, Missouri redshirt freshman Maty Mauk again leads the No. 5 Tigers as James Franklin recovers from a separated throwing shoulder. Opposing him will be South Carolina junior Dylan Thompson, who hopes to save the No. 20 Gamecocks' season as Connor Shaw looks on with a sprained left knee.

Mauk gave Missouri a two-game cushion in the division last week by throwing for 295 yards against a Gators defense that previously allowed only 152 passing yards per game.

"If you watched him play in high school, that's what he looked like," coach Gary Pinkel said. "The bigger the game, the better he played."

Mauk finds himself as the most tenured available quarterback for the Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC).

Third-stringer Corbin Berkstresser, a sophomore who played in 10 games last year, tore his left medial meniscus in his knee during practice Oct. 15 and is out indefinitely. He continued practicing until an MRI on Monday discovered the cause of his discomfort.

Freshman Eddie Printz, who is currently redshirting, takes over as Mauk's backup.

Down two games to Missouri with only three conference games remaining, South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) would be virtually eliminated if it lost consecutive games for the second time since 2010 after losing 23-21 at Tennessee. The Tigers would need to lose their remaining four games to re-open the door.

Thompson is no stranger to playing despite making only his third career start. He's participated in 21 games and engineered wins over East Carolina, Clemson and Michigan last season. He's thrown for 421 yards this year after 1,027 in 2012-13.

"I think it helps, but it's a new team, new game," he said. "Missouri's a great team, they've got a good crowd. We have to be ready for that. This week's the biggest game we've played yet."

Five things to watch in this SEC East showdown:

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: Last year, Missouri played in its first SEC road game at South Carolina, losing 31-10 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Shaw threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and completed a school-record 20 consecutive passes. In just their second season in the league, the Tigers now appear to be the team ready to pounce. Wins at home over the Gamecocks and Tennessee next week would clinch the division.

QUARTERBACK PRESSURE: Missouri leads the SEC in sacks (23) while South Carolina has yielded 10 in its past three games. Tigers end Michael Sam ranks first individually with nine and 13 tackles for loss. All the pressure upfront allows Missouri to generally rush four, freeing defenders to sit back in coverage. The Gamecocks must contain their opponent's defensive line and give Thompson time to throw.

RUNNING MIKE DAVIS: The SEC's leading rusher is enjoying a breakout season. Averaging 125.6 rushing yards per game, the Gamecocks' sophomore has run for 100 yards against every opponent except Vanderbilt. If he's successful Saturday, he'll force Missouri to put more defenders up front and open the passing game for Thompson.

MISSOURI'S RUNNING BACK HEALTH: Missouri relies on 234.4 rushing yards per game to take some pressure off its quarterbacks, and is able to do so because of its trio of running backs. But both sophomore Russell Hansbrough (turf toe) and junior Marcus Murphy (concussion) sustained injuries against Florida last week, and junior Henry Josey survived a scare with his surgically reconstructed left knee. All three are expected to play this week, but their health will be closely monitored.

IMPRESSIVE START: Missouri is 7-0 after defeating ranked opponents in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1976. Another win this week over No. 20 South Carolina would make it the first Tigers team since 1939 to win three consecutive. A victory would also give the team its first 8-0 start since 1960 and first 4-0 start in conference since 1968.

Friday, 25 October 2013 22:09
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ryan Kesler scored his second goal of the game at 4:45 of overtime during a power play to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

With Patrik Berglund off for hooking, Vancouver took advantage of the 4-on-3 power play when Kesler got control of the puck down low in the slot and swatted it past goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Backup goalie Eddie Lack made 22 saves for the Canucks, who went 5-1-1 on their seven-game road trip.

Chris Higgins had Vancouver's other goal, and Mike Santorelli added two assists.

Alexander Steen had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, and Vladimir Sobotka also scored.

Higgins gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead with 2:49 left in the first period when he raced down left wing on a 3-on-2 rush and took a shot from the left circle. Defenseman Roman Polak slid down to block the shot, but he deflected it instead, and the puck sailed over Halak's left shoulder.

After Kesler made it 2-0 with a one-timer from the slot at 9:34 of the second period, the Blues got back in it by scoring on a 5-on-3 power play with 6.4 seconds left in the period.

T.J. Oshie got control of the puck deep in the left circle and sent a centering pass to Steen, who beat Lack with a one-timer.

Sobotka made it 2-2 with a shot from the right circle 1:38 into the third period.

 

NOTES: The Blues played their first game after having a week off. St . Louis played an NHL-low seven games in the first 22 days of the season. It marked the lightest schedule to begin a season in team history. ... Vancouver's Henrik Sedin, who entered the game tied for second in points with 15 and first in assists with 12, earned assist on Kesler's game winner. ... The St. Louis Cardinals' Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso attended the game during an off day in the World Series and received a large ovation when they were shown on the video board.

Friday, 25 October 2013 22:06
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jake Peavy could have been starting Game 3 of the World Series for the home team.

Dealt from the Chicago White Sox to Boston as part of a three-team trade in July, Peavy was being pursued by the Cardinals last summer.

"I know it was a pretty serious conversation I guess they were having in St. Louis," he said Friday. "I would have been excited to come to St. Louis. It's a place I dearly love and enjoyed playing in any time through here."

With the Series tied at a game apiece, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will start for Boston on Saturday night in his Series debut at age 32. Joe Kelly takes the mound for the Cardinals.

Back in the playoffs for the first time in seven years, Peavy went 12-5 during the regular season and then pitched well but didn't get a decision in Game 4 of the division series. He allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings during a 3-1 win at Tampa Bay, and then was hit hard in the Game 4 championship series defeat at Detroit, giving up seven runs in three innings.

He maintained "just a small, small adjustment" was the only thing he needed to do to get ready for the Cards.

"There's absolutely no excuses tomorrow night. This is what I've lived for my whole life," he said. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be, physically, mentally."

Excited about his first Series start, he brought sons Jacob Edward and Wyatt to the Busch Stadium interview room on Friday, Queried about their favorite players, they both said dad first, followed by Jacoby Ellsbury for Wyatt and Jonny Gomes for Jacob.

"They've got good taste," dad said.

With the Series shifting to the National League ballpark, Peavy was looking forward to bunting or being involved in a hit-and-run.

He might be a .173 career hitter during the regular season, but he does have a pair of home runs - both in July 2006, against Philadelphia's Scott Mathieson and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Brad Penny.

Peavy spent his first 7 1/2 seasons with San Diego.

"I love the National League-style of game," he said, "and feeling like a true baseball player, as opposed to how we are as a pitcher in the American League."

Clay Buchholz, slowed by a shoulder issue, is slated to start Game 4 for the Red Sox on Sunday against Lance Lynn. Buchholz threw from about 100 feet on flat ground Friday.

Game 5 Monday will feature a rematch of the opener, when Jon Lester defeated St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

But first, Game 3. Peavy already sounded amped up for his start.

"Let's not sugarcoat anything, this is the biggest game up until this point in time that I've ever pitched. We'd be silly to sit here and say otherwise," Peavy said. "To go out in a World Series game and have a chance to sway the odds, the favor, in your direction, on the road, with a team that's got some momentum with a big win at our place, of course. I think this is the biggest start in my career."

Friday, 25 October 2013 22:05
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- From the Green Monster to the Gateway Arch. From the Charles River to the mighty Mississippi. From clam chowder to toasted ravioli.

The World Series scene is shifting, and St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright couldn't be happier.

"We love Cardinal country," he said Friday.

For good reason, too. After Boston split the first two games at Fenway Park, now Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of the Red Sox will get to see what makes this place so special.

Especially in October.

"Well, we love playing here at Busch Stadium. Like I said, it's a sea of red," pitcher Joe Kelly said.

The free-spirited Kelly was set to start Game 3 on Saturday night against Jake Peavy.

"This is what I've lived for my whole life - my whole baseball career, I should say," Peavy said. "I'm as prepared as I'll ever be - physically, mentally."

Also warmed up: A team of eight Clydesdales, ready to pull a red beer wagon around the warning track before the first pitch. It's also a tradition for fans to gather early at the Musial statue - there are two honoring Stan the Man, actually.

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara took a moment to soak it all in. As he walked onto the field for a workout, the first-time visitor looked at the gleaming Arch hovering high beyond the center-field fence.

The Cardinals rely on a lot more than pomp when they play in their own park.

They led the NL in scoring while going 54-27 at Busch, and then let pitching take over in the postseason. St. Louis is 5-1 at home in the playoffs - in those five wins, opponents scored a total of five runs.

Boston has hit just .188 so far in the Series, with David Ortiz providing the biggest bop. He's homered in both games and is 4 for 6 overall with five RBIs.

With no designated hitter in the National League park, Ortiz will switch to first base. Manager John Farrell wouldn't say whether Ortiz would start there for every game in St. Louis, but it's a good guess regular first baseman Mike Napoli will be on the bench for a while.

Farrell also said lefty-swinging Daniel Nava would start in left field instead of Jonny Gomes, who is 0 for 7 so far.

"Obviously David's bat, at all costs, needs to be in the lineup," Peavy said. "David is a game-changer. He's as clutch as anybody I can remember playing with or against."

"It just seems like he has a flair for the dramatic. When the situation is the biggest, he's at his best," he said.

Ortiz hit a two-run homer off rookie sensation Michael Wacha in Game 2 that put Boston ahead 2-1 in the sixth inning, but St. Louis rallied in the seventh for a 4-2 win.

The Red Sox will spend this weekend at the stadium a few blocks from the Mississippi River.

"I believe our ballpark is very fair. I don't think there's one thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than any other," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's not like there's the oddities, like a Green Monster or deep corners and gaps."

"But you can't help but buy into the atmosphere, especially when you're at home and every single thing you do gets such a positive response," he said.

Kelly is glad to be home, all the way around.

"You get to sleep in your own bed. You get to do what you normally do on a regular basis," he said. "If you get coffee in the morning, you go to your coffee shop. It's just a comfort level to know that it's your home away from your offseason home."

For the Red Sox, this is their first visit to St. Louis since Ortiz hit a home run on June 8, 2005, in a win at the previous Busch Stadium. The new park opened the next year.

Kelly also had some friendly advice for Boston's first-time visitors. It involved a local favorite, a food that many are certain started in this city.

 

"Find some toasted raviolis, eat some. Those are good, especially in St. Louis," he said.

Friday, 25 October 2013 22:04
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The Mizzou Tigers suffered another injury at quarterback, but it should not hurt them on the field.

Backup QB Corbin Berkstresser hurt his left knee during a practice last week. Berkstresser underwent surgery yesterday to repair his meniscus. Athletic officials say it is not clear when he can return to the field. Mizzou is already thin at quarterback after James Franklin hurt his shoulder playing Georgia on October 12.

Maty Mauk filled in well last week, leading the Tigers to a win of Florida last week and winning SEC Freshman Player of the Week honors. Mizzou hosts South Carolina Saturday. 6PM kickoff with all the action here on your voice of the Tigers.

Friday, 25 October 2013 14:35
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