In the Red Sox’ third straight loss, it was old friend (or enemy, if you prefer) A.J. Pierzynski who singled with two outs in the eighth and later came around to score the eventual game-winner as the Cardinals took down the Sox 3-2.
Pat Neshek got the win after striking out the side in the eighth to keep the game tied 2-2. Junichi Tazawa took the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in the eighth on three hits with one strikeout. Trevor Rosenthal picked up his 35th save of the year.
Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa went six innings, allowing one run on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. St. Louis’ Lance Lynn pitched seven frames and allowing two runs, one earned on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Neither factored into the final decision.
Jon Jay flared a bloop single to left that scored A.J. Pierzynski from third to give St. Louis the 3-2 lead. Junichi Tazawa had retired the first two batters of the inning before Pierzynski started a two-out rally that saw the Cardinals jump on top.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the ninth with a base hit, but his three-hit night couldn’t save the Sox, who totaled just five as a team.
St. Louis tied it up 2-2 with two outs in the seventh, as Kolten Wong singled up the middle and Shane Robinson just beat Brock Holt’s throw to the plate.
Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Nava led off the top of the seventh with back-to-back singles, who advanced into scoring position on a sac bunt by Xander Bogaerts. Christian Vazquez was intentionally walked to load the bases before Lynn bobbled a grounder by Will Middlebrooks on what looked like an inning-ending double play. Lynn’s only play was the throw Middlebrooks at first and the Sox took a 2-1 lead.
The Sox tied the game 1-1 in the fifth after Nava reached second on a two-base error by Matt Carpenter, took third on a groundout by Bogaerts, then scored on a sac fly by Vazquez.
The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the fourth, when Matt Adams drove in Matt Holiday from second with one out in the inning. De La Rosa loaded the bases after walking Jhonny Peralta and A.J. Pierzynski, but fielded a comebacker from Oscar Tavares and started a 1-2-3 double play to get out of the jam.
MVP: A.J. Pierzynski
The former Sox catcher got revenge against his old team, sparking the two-out rally in the eighth that saw the Cardinals record three straight his and take a 3-2 lead. The St. Louis backstop went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the contest.
GOAT: Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger
After taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning, the Red Sox had runners at second and third with Mike Napoli at the plate. Napoli worked a 0-2 count to 3-2, then took what appeared to be ball for, but Ripperger run him up to end the inning, much to the protest of Napoli.
The next half inning, the Cardinals had a similar situation, after tying the game they had Kolten Wong at second representing the go-ahead run with matt Holiday at the plate. Ripperger called Holiday out on a 1-2 pitch that also appeared to be out of the zone, prompting a minor tantrum from Holiday that saw him quickly ejected.
ICYMI: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fourth, Rubby De La Rosa fielded a grounder back to him by Oscar Tavares, starting a 1-2-3 double play to get the Sox out of the inning down by only a run.
QUOTE OF THE GAME:
De La Rosa on hitting in a game again: "It was good. I was a little scared. My first swing..." (shakes head)..."it was horrible."— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) August 6, 2014
NUMBERS TO KNOW: Yoenis Cespedes put together his first three-hit game in a Red Sox uniform…His last three-hit game came on July 29 as a member of the Oakland A’s, going 3-for-5 in a 7-4 win over the Houston Astros…The only other Red Sox batters to pick up hits were Dustin Pedroia, who singled with two outs in the sixth, and Daniel Nava, who singled with no outs in the seventh…Rubby De La Rosa was able to lower his season ERA from 3.64 to 3.43 after allowing just one run in six innings on Tuesday...In three appearances in August, Junichi Tazawa has given up two runs on five hits in three innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
WHAT IT MEANS: With the loss, the Red Sox fall to a season-low 14 games under .500. At 49-63, the Red Sox are 15 games out of first place in the AL East, and five games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for last place. They are 10 games back of the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Houston Astros (47-65) and Texas Rangers (44-69) are the only two AL clubs with worse records than the Red Sox.
LOOKING AHEAD: Joe Kelly will make his Red Sox debut on Wednesday against the team he was traded from at the July 31 deadline. He was 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts for the Cardinals before the trade. Kelly went five innings his last time out on July 30 against the Padres, allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Shelby Miller gets the start for the Cardinals, looking to build on his 8-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 21 starts this year, also making one appearance in relief. He got the win in his last start on July 31 against the Padres, allowing two runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts over six innings.