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October 25, 2013

Wacha, Cards top Red Sox 4-2 to tie World Series

Eds: Updates with new lead. Should stand. With AP Photos.

BOSTON (AP) — Michael Wacha and his Cardinals bullpen provided the power pitching. Carlos Beltran, injected with a painkiller, came through with a huge hit. And this time, it was the Red Sox who were tripped up by fielding failures.

Wacha bested John Lackey in a matchup of present and past rookie sensations, and St. Louis beat Boston 4-2 Thursday night to even the World Series at a game apiece.

"Somebody would have to kill me in order for me to get out of the lineup," said Beltran, undeterred by bruised ribs that landed him in the hospital a night earlier.

Matt Holliday tripled and scored on Yadier Molina's fourth-inning grounder, but David Ortiz put Boston ahead 2-1 in the sixth when he pounced on an 85 mph changeup for a two-run homer just over the Green Monster in left field.

That ended Wacha's scoreless streak at 18 2-3 innings — a rookie record for a single postseason — but it was all he gave up. Selected by St. Louis last year with the first-round draft pick received as compensation when Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels, Wacha has been so good lately that a St. Louis restaurant he walked into had named a milkshake after him, the "Wacha Wacha."

The 22-year-old right-hander, the NL championship series MVP after beating Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw twice, threw a career-high 114 pitches and allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in six innings with six strikeouts. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four outings this postseason, matching the amount of regular-season wins he has in his brief career.

"They don't swing at bad pitches, really," Wacha said. "They did a good job tonight grinding out at-bats with me and got the pitch count up."

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