BOSTON (AP) — Craig Breslow couldn’t find the plate.
Then he couldn’t find third base.
The Red Sox reliever gave up a walk to load the bases and then committed one of two errors during a two-run sacrifice fly as Boston squandered David Ortiz’s go-ahead homer and lost 4-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night in Game 2 of the World Series.
“On this stage you don’t get too many mistakes back,” said Breslow, who retrieved a ball that got away from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia but threw it over third base and into the stands. “It just kind of sailed on me. I looked up and I saw I definitely had a play there and didn’t make a good throw. Not a throw that I make too much, but one that I needed to make there.”
One night after the Cardinals made three errors — and a bunch of other mistakes — in an 8-1 loss to open the Series, it was the Red Sox who threw away Game 2. Breslow and Saltalamacchia each made an error on Matt Carpenter’s seventh-inning fly ball that turned a one-run deficit into a 3-2 St. Louis lead.
“It was a couple of misplays. It happens,” said Ortiz, who homered for the second straight night but lost for the first time in 10 World Series games. “That’s part of the game, man. Nobody can dictate that you’re going to win four straight games every time you go out there for the World Series. This is baseball, and you’re playing the best team in the National League.”
Game 3 is Saturday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
“Things are going to happen. This team’s really good at not dwelling on it, and moving past it,” Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s the same thing (as) yesterday. We capitalized on it, and they capitalized on it tonight.”
Ortiz’s two-run homer off Michael Wacha gave the Red Sox the lead in the bottom of the sixth, but John Lackey walked David Freese with one out in the seventh and then Jon Jay singled to chase the Red Sox starter. In came Breslow, who had not yet allowed a run in seven postseason appearances this year.
With David Descalso up, Jay and pinch-runner Pete Kozma worked a double steal without drawing a throw because Saltalamacchia had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. After Descalso walked on a full-count pitch to load the bases, Carpenter hit a medium-depth fly ball that Jonny Gomes moved over to field.
The throw home was up the first-base line, and Saltalamacchia couldn’t handle it. That allowed Kozma, who had two errors in Game 1, to score, and Jay to take third.
Breslow was backing up the play and took an extra step or two before sailing his throw to third over Drew’s head; it bounced into the stands to allow another run to score and give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Descalso was left at third, and he scored on Carlos Beltran’s single to make it 4-2.
“I’m sure Craig would like to have that ball back and hold it with a chance to shut down the inning right there,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Uncharacteristic of the way I think we’ve taken care of the baseball this year. And it contributed to the three runs.”
The meltdown cost Lackey the chance for a win and his first World Series victory since he pitched the clincher of the Angels’ 2002 win against the San Francisco Giants as a rookie. He would be in line to start Game 6, if necessary.
“Brez has been awesome for us this year,” said Lackey, who left with a 2-1 lead but took the loss. “I can’t wait to see him get back out there, because he’s been so good for us and you can’t go wrong with putting that guy on the mound.”