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Cardinals need a Game 5 win to keep their World Series plans in play

Apparently it is the goal of the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox to torture their fans with the most inexplicable play possible in the World Series.

A day after Redbirds fans were riding high after St. Louis won Game 3 on a controversial obstruction play they were tearing their hair out. First because Jonny Gomes, whose previous most noteworthy accomplishment was openly cheering the injury of Adam Wainwright while a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was allowed to hit a three-run homer. Second because, with their best hitter at the plate with a 3-0 count representing the tying run, supposed top St. Louis prospect Kolten Wong managed to get picked off first base.

I know the World Series games have been running late. But Wong picked a heckuva time to take a nap.

I still can't wrap my mind around why Cardinals manager Mike Matheny decided to bring in reliever Seth Maness to pitch to Gomes. Lance Lynn battled through a tough fifth inning, allowing only one run. Then he came out in the sixth and mowed through the first two boston hitters before allowing Dustin Pedroia to single on a pretty good pitch in off the plate. Lynn, rightly so, was ordered to pitch around Boston slugger David Ortiz. And then he was pulled.

That was a pretty short leash for Lynn, who was visibly upset to be lifted. And a whole lot more people were upset when Maness threw Gomes a belt-high sinker that forced St. Louis fans to endure Tim McCarver spout the cliche "Catchers don't catch high sinkers."

No kidding, Tim?

In the eighth inning the Cardinals had a chance to cut the Boston lead to one with a runner on third and one out. But, while the Redbirds earned their berth in the World Series by driving in runs with remarkable consistency, they continued their recent trend of saying thanks, but no thanks when they have a chance to score in the World Series.

The Birds can still accomplish their ultimate goal of winning two of three games in St. Louis by taking Game 5. But things would have been a lot easier if they could have taken a 3-1 lead.

Aces Adam Wainwright and John Lester will face off for a second time in the series. Things didn't go well in Game 1 as Wainwright appeared to be rusty and St. Louis lost.

But if he's healthy it's hard to imagine Wainwright, one of the greatest post season pitchers in Cardinals history, will have two bad games in a row. Lester, who dominates at Fenway Park with a 7-1 record and a 3.09 ERA, isn't nearly as good on the road. He was 8-7 away from The Fens in 2013 witha 4.21 ERA.

Adam Wainwright was 9-6 with a 2.53 ERA at Busch Stadium. He held opponents to a .217 batting average at home compared to a .276 batting average against on the road.