ST. LOUIS (AP) — When the St. Louis Cardinals are in another middle-inning jam, manager Mike Matheny insists rookie reliever Seth Maness will be his choice — even after the Boston Red Sox roughed up the kid the last two nights.
Jonny Gomes became the latest when he hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the sixth inning of a 4-2 victory Sunday night that evened the best-of-seven World Series at 2-all.
"This is a guy that we go to, to get us out of tough spots," Matheny said. "And he's been very, very good. And we'll use him again in that situation."
The 25-year-old Maness was among the NL champions' pleasant pitching surprises, getting his first call-up in May and finishing the year as the National League's best reliever at inducing the double-play ball. The Cardinals just needed one out this time.
"I missed my spot and I left the ball up out over the plate. He put a good swing on it and capitalized," Maness said. "I've got short-term amnesia. I'll come back at them tomorrow."
Lance Lynn faced the minimum the first four innings and threw only 89 pitches, but struggled in the fifth. After getting two outs in the sixth, Lynn allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia and walked David Ortiz on four pitches.
Matheny then went to Maness.
"As a competitor, you want the opportunity to maybe pitch yourself out of the inning," Lynn added. "I'm not happy when I come out of a game ever."
The move backfired.
"We wanted to give him a shot," Matheny said of Maness. "And it just didn't work out tonight."
Now St. Louis needs a bounce-back start from ace Adam Wainwright in a Game 1 rematch against Jon Lester — won by Boston 8-1 — in Game 5 Monday night. The World Series is going head to head with the Rams' game against the dominant Seattle Seahawks.
Maness allowed just seven of 58 inherited runners to score all season, giving the Cardinals an effective bridge to the back end of the bullpen. In the postseason, though, he's inherited 11 runners, and six of them have scored. He yielded a tying single Saturday night in a game the Cardinals ended up winning 5-4 on an obstruction call in the ninth inning.
The offense had a letdown in Game 4, too, failing to take advantage of Clay Buchholz, who was pitching with weakness in his shoulder, and mustering just five hits.
Kolten Wong became the first player to be picked off to end a World Series game, when he was pinch-running for Allen Craig. Wong slipped while taking a lead.
"I went to plant and my back foot just came right out of me," Wong said. "From there, I was dead. I knew I was dead once it happened."
Matt Holliday was 0 for 4 and missed a chance to build on a two-out rally in the seventh. Pinch- hitter Shane Robinson doubled, leadoff man Matt Carpenter's RBI single cut the deficit to 4-2 and Carlos Beltran walked before Holliday grounded out against Junichi Tazawa.
"This is not a good time to not be productive," David Freese said after going 0 for 4. "We're still in a good position. We will come to the yard tomorrow happy."
Beltran earned his team-leading 14th RBI this postseason, second of the Series and 39th career RBI. He's three away from a tie for 10th all-time with Jorge Posada and Jim Edmonds, both of whom had a lot more opportunities.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury bungled the ball giving Carpenter an extra base on a one-out single in the third, and Carpenter scored without a play on Beltran's single.
Just like Joe Kelly the night before, Lynn retired the Red Sox in order the first time through the order. Ortiz got an infield hit on a hard grounder up the middle that the pitcher deflected with his foot, but was followed quickly by Gomes' double-play ball.
Lynn got three easy outs in the fourth, too, against the top of the Boston lineup. But he struggled in the fifth when the Red Sox tied it on a leadoff double by Ortiz, two walks and a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew.