STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The Boston Red Sox are a win away from claiming their third World Series championship in the last decade. Not bad for a team that not so long ago seemed to be cursed. Last night in St. Louis, Boston starting pitcher Jon Lester was masterful in a 3-to-1 win over the Cardinals; gave the Sox a three games to two lead in the series, despite having blown a game.
NPR's Tom Goldman was at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He's now here with us. Hi, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.
INSKEEP: Crazy endings to Games 3 and 4, what about Game 5?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, we were ready. Even though we were ready for it, the ball did not explode; aliens did not appear and kidnapped base runners heading for home plate. In fact, St. Louis's Matt Holliday simply flied out to right. It was a normal ending in the most normal game of the series up to now. Although this being World Series, a pretty normal 3-to-1 game still is dissected and given greater meaning.
INSKEEP: Especially for Jon Lester who, I mean just giving up one run - that's pretty good.
GOLDMAN: Yes, he was fantastic. He basically reprised his great performance from Game 1, which he also won. You know, what was really impressive was how he got stronger as the game went on. He gave up St. Louis' only run on a solo homerun by Matt Holliday in the fourth inning. After that he retired 12 straight batters. That took him into the eighth inning which is when he finally departed.
And you also had a big game from David "Big Papi" Ortiz he's having a memorable World Series. His three hits last night gave him 11 in 15 at-bats. He's got two home runs, six runs batted in. Red Sox catcher David Ross says they call Ortiz Cooperstown, and you can see why.
INSKEEP: And maybe Ortiz can return the favor and call Ross the same thing.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. Well, not quite Cooperstown but he was awfully good last night. He drove in what ended up being the winning run with a double in the seventh inning. And he's got a great rapport with Lester, and give Ross credit for helping Lester be so good and comfortable on the mound. And Ross is a crazy story. He missed over two months of the season with a concussion that he got from several foul balls that hit his mask.
GOLDMAN: Now, he had pretty severe symptoms. He thought his season, maybe even his career, might be over. And it was a big reason why he was so animated last night at the post-game press conference. Here he is.
DAVID ROSS: I'm just in awe of being in the World Series, really. I mean that's as signature as it gets. I'm on the podium talking to you guys with the, you know, the whole World Series thing behind me. Right? I mean, that's what you see people on TV. I'm stoked.
INSKEEP: Seems kind happy, and you mentioned - I'm glad you did - that that he's working with the pitcher there. He's a key part of a pitcher's success.
INSKEEP: And when you have a 3-to-1 win, he's a big part of it. So do the Cardinals have a chance to come back tomorrow night in Game 6?
GOLDMAN: Yeah, sure they do. You know, remember they, the Cards, were on a roll winning Game 2 in Boston and then Game 3 and St. Louis. And then Boston turned things around. St. Louis has rookie pitching phenom Michael Wacha starting tomorrow night. Now, he's already won in Boston; that was in Game 2.
This series may, in fact, be heading for a Game 7 which many predicted at the outset. If the Red Sox can close out in either Game 6 or 7, it'll be the first time they've won the championship at Fenway Park since 1918.
INSKEEP: Wow, and I guess we should remember the Cardinals have already won once in Boston in this series. So not impossible they could do it again.
INSKEEP: Tom, thanks very much.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome, Steve.
INSKEEP: That's NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman. The Red Sox now lead the World Series three games to two.
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