A three-run home run by unexpected starter Jonny Gomes lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday that tied the best-of-seven World Series 2-2.
Gomes, inserted into the line-up just before Game Four when outfielder Shane Victorino was scratched due to tightness in his back, welcomed reliever Seth Maness with a drive over the fence in left-center with two men aboard in the sixth inning to snap a 1-1 tie.
"I just wanted an opportunity," said Gomes, who had been 0-for-8 at the plate over the first three games. "I take a lot of pride in my at-bats."
The victory ensured the Fall Classic would return to Boston following Monday's Game Five in St. Louis.
Felix Doubront, who came on in relief of Boston starter Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning, registered the win, while St. Louis starter Lance Lynn took the loss as he left a 1-1 game after a two-out single and walk before the Gomes home run.
St. Louis failed to take advantage of a slew of opportunities, stranding two men in the second, fourth and seventh innings and failing to cash in with a runner on third and one out in the eighth.
"We didn't get a lot going, and didn't have any momentum offensively," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals still had life in the ninth after Allen Craig banged a one-out single to right off closer Koji Uehara.
Rookie Kolten Wong pinch-ran for Craig but one out later, Uehara wheeled and fired to first base to pick off Wong for a surprise end to the game.
The Cardinals had clawed back a run in the seventh on a two-out, pinch-hit double to left-center by Shane Robinson and a single to right by Matt Carpenter off reliever Craig Breslow that brought them within 4-2.
After Breslow walked Carlos Beltran to give the Cards men on first and second, Junichi Tazawa replaced lefty Breslow and got Matt Holliday to ground out sharply to second to end the inning.
Buchholz, who has been complaining of right shoulder tightness, worked gamely through four innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits and three walks before giving way to a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning after only 66 pitches.
"He gave us everything he could," said Boston manager John Farrell, saluting Buchholz's effort.