ST. LOUIS -- As the Red Sox came off the field at the end of the fifth inning, David Ortiz called his teammates together in the dugout.
The longest tenured player in a Red Sox uniform was offering a pep talk as Game 4 of the World Series was heading into the final four innings. And he had a captive audience.
"It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher," Jonny Gomes said.
The words resonated and it didn't take long before the tide shifted Sunday night. The Red Sox turned a tie game into a three-run lead when Gomes launched a home run in the sixth.
After starter Clay Buchholz recording 12 outs despite throwing with a weak right shoulder, the Red Sox pieced together the final four innings and evened the series with a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals.
As Saturday night was ending, the team was stunned by a walk-off Game 3 loss when third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for obstructing a baserunner. As Sunday was ending, the Red Sox clinched a Game 4 victory when Koji Uehara picked off pinch-runner Kolten Wong with the dangerous Carlos Beltran at the plate.
Two games, two odd ending. It has been that kind of series.
And with Boston's victory Sunday, there will be another game at Fenway Park. Game 6 is Wednesday, with a potential Game 7 of a bizarre series landing appropriately on Halloween night.
The Red Sox were despondent after losing Game 3, but they were upbeat as they hit the field for batting practice before Game 4. As they've done all season, they managed to turn their backs on yesterday and turn their attention to the task in front of them.
"We've seen it many times," manager John Farrell said. "The stage might be bigger, but this is consistent with the way we've responded to a tough 1/8game3/8 the night before. We came in today fully expecting a very good game."
The biggest question surrounded Buchholz, the team's best starter for the first two months of the season. He has been experiencing fatigue in his shoulder, the result of missing three months during the season, and allowed seven earned runs in 102/3 innings during the American League Championship Series.
Although he wasn't at his best, he allowed just one unearned run -- center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury committed an error, the team's sixth in the series -- on a single by Beltran in the third. The Red Sox got 22/3 innings from Felix Doubront and starter John Lackey even came out of the bullpen for a scoreless eighth.
Offensively, Ortiz had three hits and is 8-for-11 in the series. He has eight of Boston's 24 hits in the World Series. In 12 career World Series games, Ortiz is 17-for-39 with 10 walks and four strikeouts.
His dugout speech may have been his most important contribution, though.
"Gave us a little kick in the butt we all need," Gomes said.
Said Farrell, "He's one of the guys that people look up to. ... And that was kind of a timely conversation he had with everybody."
Ortiz doubled and later scored on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly in the fifth to tie the game. In the sixth, Dustin Pedroia singled with one out before Ortiz drew a walk.
That set up Gomes, who was a late addition to the starting lineup. When Shane Victorino (lower back tightness) was unable to start, Gomes was inserted as the left fielder and Daniel Nava moved to right.
"It turns out that the replacement is the difference in this one," Farrell said.
Indeed, Gomes hit a 2-and-2 pitch from reliever Seth Maness over the left field fence for a three-run homer. Suddenly, the Busch Stadium-record crowd of 47,469 was in stunned silence as Gomes circled the bases and players bounced to the edge of the Red Sox dugout.
Gomes was at a loss to explain how he felt after delivering such an important hit on baseball's biggest stage.
"What's going on inside pretty special, magical," Gomes said.
Craig Breslow allowed an RBI single in the seventh -- the run was charged to Doubront -- but that's as close as the Cardinals would get. Aces Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright face off in Game 5 Monday night.
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