Cards' closer keeps his cool

Updated: 2013-10-28 07:28

By Associated Press in St. Louis (China Daily)

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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 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 of St. Louis' strange 5-4 Game 3 victory on Saturday night.

St. Louis scored a strange run on an obstruction call in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory Saturday night.

"Not sure how it happened," Rosenthal said. "I just know that we won."

The Cardinals used five pitchers 25 or younger in Game 3 and some of them showed some vulnerability. Others came up big.

The lone downside: Allen Craig's left foot was sore from sliding home on the final play. Craig's pinch-hit double was a key hit in the ninth.

"I don't want to jump to any conclusions about anything," said Craig, who returned for the Series from a sprained left foot that had sidelined him since early September. "It's the first time I've had to run full speed and there was a little obstacle course going on there. Just one of those deals."

Cards' closer keeps his cool

Kolten Wong made a tough defensive stop at second base in the eighth on Daniel Nava's short-hop grounder that he nearly turned into an inning-ending double play.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was hoping that play didn't get overlooked from the 23-year-old Wong, a first-round draft pick in 2011 who could be the Cardinals' starting second baseman next season.

"That's not an easy play, let alone coming right off the bench as you're initiated into the World Series," Matheny said.

After former 41st-round pick Kevin Siegrist worked a perfect inning, setup man Carlos Martinez got one out in the eighth, leaving Rosenthal in a tough bind with the bases loaded.

Seth Maness gave up the tying single to Nava in the sixth before getting a double-play ball to stop it there.

"I think we're all just such great competitors, and obviously the talent is there," Rosenthal said. "I'm starting to believe, maybe, that we're just young and don't realize the stage that we're on.

"And hopefully we can stay that way, stay locked in."

The Cardinals became the first team to use five pitchers 25 or younger in the postseason. They were the fourth to win consecutive World Series games with pitchers 23 or younger and the first since the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.

The end result, though certainly unique with a World Series game decided on an obstruction call for the first time, was another win at home, where the Cardinals have dominated all year.

They have a chance to really take control with Lance Lynn (2-1, 5.40 ERA) facing Clay Buchholz (0-0, 5.40) in Game 4 on Sunday night.

The Cardinals are 6-1 at Busch Stadium in the postseason after going 54-27 during the regular season, second-best in the majors.

"You hate to see it end on a somewhat controversial play, but you know that's part of the game," said slugger Matt Holliday, who drove in three runs. "You'd like to see it end a little cleaner, but it didn't."

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.

The sellout crowd of 47,432 was the largest for a baseball game at 8-year-old Busch Stadium, surpassing the previous best of 47,345 on opening day this year. It wasn't the largest overall, however, with a football friendly between Chelsea and Manchester City which attracted more than 48,000 in May.

(China Daily 10/28/2013 page24)