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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Game one of the World Series raised the possibility that this could be a laugher - a quick coronation for the Boston Red Sox. Well, the St. Louis Cardinals have put that to rest. They won game two last name at Boston's Fenway Park, tying the series at a game apiece. St. Louis had 22-year-old starter Michael Wacha on the mound, a rookie barely out of college, and now on this big stage. NPR's Mike Pesca says Boston batters could barely touch him.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: In baseball, there is pitching motion called the inverted W, named for the appearance of the pitcher's arm at the wrist and elbow. In linguistics there is a phenomenon among Bostonians and others of adding an R sound to the ends of words - so idea becomes idear. This is known as the intrusive R. For the first time ever the intrusive R was used as a tool in a baseball game.

(SOUNDBITE OF WORLD SERIES GAME TWO)

UNIDENTIFIED MEN AND WOMEN: (chanting) Wachar, Wachar, Wachar.

PESCA: That's 38,000 in Fenway Park chanting the name of the Cardinal's starting pitcher. He calls himself Michael Wacha; they chanted...

(SOUNDBITE OF WORLD SERIES GAME TWO)

UNIDENTIFIED MEN AND WOMEN: (chanting) Wachar, Wachar.

PESCA: Wachar. Every last Fenway fan. A Wachar Machar. And at the moment you're listening to, with the Sox down one to nothing in the bottom of the sixth, it seemed to work.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)

PESCA: As David Ortiz crushed a change up over the green monster. Red sox up two to one. At a moment like that you might expect a 22-year-old, no matter how talented, to crumble, to get down on himself, or up in his head. Not Wacha; he stayed level and calmly got out of the inning. Afterwards, the rookie gave a critical assessment of what really was a gem of a performance.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

MICHAEL WACHA: Nerves weren't too bad. I mean, just anxious to get out there. I mean, it's the World Series, a big-time game. And just trying to block out the fans and the crowd.

PESCA: Matching Wacha was Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, who had only allowed a single earned run through six. But the seventh inning was a tough one for the home team. Lackey left two runners on and was relieved by Craig Breslow. Breslow has many fine qualities. He double majored in molecular biophysics and biochemiostry at Yale. He was accepted into med school. He founded a pediatric cancer charity.

And, more to the point of his current endeavors, had the third lowest ERA in the American League among lefties. But resumes don't record outs. The first thing that went wrong for the Sox when Breslow entered the game was that the Cardinals were on first and second, advanced to second and third on a double steal. Afterwards Red Sox manager John Farrell gave them credit.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

JOHN FARRELL: They timed some things up with Brez on the mound. Whether it was just a read that they had on the number of head looks to keep Kozma in check back there, but in that moment a timely play on their part.

PESCA: It sure was because of what happened next, as Fox's Joe Buck describes.

(SOUNDBITE OF WORLD SERIES GAME TWO)

JOE BUCK: Kozma tags. Here's the throw from Gomes, tie game. Now the runner Jay down to third. The throw gets away and the Cardinals will take the lead.

PESCA: The errant throw that that went into the stands allowing a second Cardinal to score was also off the arm of Breslow. By the time the inning was over the game stood at 4 to 2 Cardinals, which was how it would end. Afterward Cardinal manager Mike Matheny said the difference between this win, and game one's 8 to 1 pounding was that in game two the Cardinals got aggressive.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

MIKE MATHENY: It was not a tentative team, which we haven't been all year. So it was good to see them turn the page on that, and that aggressiveness was able to generate runs there when we got guys on base, and let guys do what they do best.

PESCA: The teams now travel to St. Louis. They'll play three in a row there. If neither team sweeps they'll come back to Boston where the fans at Fenway will figure out the names to be cursed, derided or exalted for years and years to come. Mike Pesca, NPR News.

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GREENE: This is NPR News.

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