Text by Paul Doyle, The Hartford Courant
ST. LOUIS — The team that began the season in April as a rebuilding project is 27 outs away from a title.
The Red Sox moved to the brink of their third World Series victory in 10 years with a tidy 3-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 5 Monday night at Busch Stadium. They will bid for their eighth title Wednesday night, when veteran John Lackey opposes rookie sensation Michael Wacha in Game 6.
If a Game 7 is necessary, the team will play on Halloween night.
In matchup of staff aces, Jon Lester outperformed Adam Wainwright for the second time in the series. Lester pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed four hits, including a solo home run by Matt Holliday. He left with a runner on second and two out in the eighth, but Koji Uehara struck out pinch-hitter Matt Adams on three pitchers and worked the ninth for the save.
The Red Sox a first-inning RBI double from David Ortiz, who is 11-for-15 in the series and is 20-for-43 in 13 career World Series games. Catcher David Ross also delivered a run with a double and Jacoby Ellsbury had an RBI single.
After a gut-wrenching loss in Game 3 that ended with an obstruction call against third baseman Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox gathered themselves and regrouped. A dugout pep talk by Ortiz midway through Game 4 helped spark a victory that ended with a pickoff.
In Game 4, there was no odd ending. Lester and the Red Sox simply marched to the victory in a 2-hour, 52-minute game and the team heads to Fenway Park, where it was 53-28 during the regular season.