(BaseballStL) -- For as much as Adam Wainwright struggled Wednesday night, Jon Lester began the World Series in fine form.
The 29-year-old lefty threw nearly eight innings on 112 pitches, tossing 15 first pitch strikes.
"He did everything he had to do," said Cardinal manager Mike Matheny. "He kept us off balance and made pitches all night."
Lester threw 76 of his 112 pitches for strikes, fanning eight Cardinals along the way. Despite logging five hits, the Cardinals couldn't break through against him.
His only real scare came in the fourth inning when a walk and two singles brought David Freese to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.
Pushing the memory of 2011 even further back in Cardinals fans' minds, Freese tapped into a double play.
"The key to me was the double play in that fourth inning," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Come‑backer to him, the 1‑2‑3 double play. And as he got deeper into the game, he got his change‑up in the mix a little more. Just a solid, solid outing by Jon."
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Lester only had one more brush with base runners, and that came next inning. After Shane Robinson and Matt Carpenter singled in the fifth, he would retire nine straight hitters. The fourth inning was the only round not scored unanimously in his favor.
"Obviously with us scoring some early runs there, I just wanted to‑ especially in the middle innings- get some shut‑down innings and get the guys back in the dugout," Lester said after the game. "That one got a little away from me, but was fortunate enough to get a pitch down to Freese there and get a ground ball."
After briefly flirting with production, the Redbird offense went quietly against the Boston hurler, going down in order with short at-bats.
"Early on had a good rhythm. Kind of lost it a little bit in those middle innings, as far as getting quick outs. Had some long at‑bats, had a lot of pitches," he said. "Sixth inning, tried to go back out and do the same thing we did all game and had some quick outs. That was big. First‑pitch‑swing outs are huge, especially this time of year."
Normally working low and in for his out pitch to righties, Lester established control of the inner part of the plate early against St. Louis. Because of this, he was able to move his out pitch away from hitters, using his cutter with devastating effectiveness.
"We pounded them in. Made them try to turn on some balls in. And when we're able to do that, you talked about getting swings early; that opens up the outer half of the plate," he said. "When you foul off a four‑seamer and start the cutter just off a little bit off of that and have it come back, most of the time they give up on it. And we're able to get some big strikeouts for us tonight."