ST. LOUIS -- The Red Sox's supporting cast provided enough contributions Monday night to make the efforts of Jon Lester and David Ortiz pay off.
As a result, the Red Sox moved to within one game of their third World Series title in last 10 seasons with a 3-1 victory at Busch Stadium to take a 3-2 advantage in this best-of-seven series.
"We've just got to win one," Dustin Pedroia said. "It's a good feeling."
It also was a good feeling for the Red Sox when the bottom of the lineup started a rally against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the seventh inning to snap a 1-1 tie and support the dominance of left-hander Jon Lester.
Lester pitched 72/3 innings of four-hit ball and retired 12 consecutive batters after Matt Holliday hit a game-tying home run in the fourth that landed on the grassy knoll behind the center-field fence.
Lester has pitched 151/3 innings of nine-hit ball in the series. Holliday's homer snapped Lester's streak of 161/3 shutout innings in World Series play.
Only Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants had a longer scoreless streak (28 innings) to start his career in World Series play.
"When we won in 2007, you guys saw (Lester) perform that year," Ortiz said. "He told me he was going to be the ace of the organization. Now he's here, doing what he knows is best."
The confidence manager John Farrell had in Lester was evident when he let Lester bat with one out in the seventh and the Red Sox trying to extend a 2-1 lead.
Lester, who is 0-for-36 in his career, appeared to tweak his groin on a swing but stayed in the game.
"The time is now," Lester said. "We've got to win now. That's all you can focus on."
Ortiz made the Cardinals pay the price in the first inning with an RBI double and is 11-for-15 (.733) in this series. He reached base safely nine consecutive times before lining out to center in the sixth. Nevertheless, Ortiz is batting .476 during his career in the World Series, the highest average among players with at least 50 plate appearances.
"We call him Cooperstown because he does Hall of Fame stuff," catcher David Ross said.
But Ross, along with Stephen Drew, helped the Red Sox inch closer to the title. Drew, who is 4-for-50 with 18 strikeouts in the series, battled from a 1-2 count to draw a walk.
"It changed the game," Drew said.
Ross followed with a ground-rule double to score Xander Bogaerts with the go-ahead run. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny elected to stick with starter Adam Wainwright, who struck out 10, but Jacoby Ellsbury hit a single with two outs to score Drew with an insurance run.
The Cardinals tried to pull out all the stops as Allen Craig returned to first base for the first time since injuring his left ankle on Sept. 4. Craig went 0-for-3 and moved gingerly.
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