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October 29. 2013 10:55PM

Wacha-Lackey matchup set for tonight's World Series Game 6

BOSTON — If you close your eyes and listen to St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny talk, he almost sounds like Clint Eastwood.

With that in mind, it is no surprise he is far from ready to concede the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.

The Cardinals find themselves in a tough spot after losing 3-1 on Monday night in Game 5 at Busch Stadium. St. Louis lost two of three games at home and now trails 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

If the Cardinals are to become the first team to win three World Series in this century and capture their second title in three years, they will have to beat the Red Sox twice on the road at Fenway Park.

“Our guys have been backed up against the wall before, and this is something that isn’t foreign to them,” Matheny said. “They know what we have to do. We just play our game. If we go about it the right way, we’ll be right where we want to be.

“Now, would it be in a better position if we won tonight? Absolutely. But once again, this isn’t some place they haven’t been before. Go out and play the game. Try not to make too much of it.”

The Cardinals were on the brink of elimination once before in the postseason when it fell behind the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 in the best-of-five National League Division Series. However, rookie Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the eighth inning as he pitched St. Louis to victory in Game 4 at Pittsburgh then the Cardinals won at home in Game 5.

It will be Wacha on the mound for the Cardinals in Game 6 tonight as he faces John Lackey.

Those two also met in Game 2 at Fenway Park with the Cardinals winning 4-2. Wacha gave up two runs and three hits in six innings while Lackey allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Wacha is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts in the postseason after going 4-1 with a 2.78 in 15 regular-season games, including nine starts.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “The crowd’s going to be alive. I’m just going to try not to let the moment get too big, try to stay within myself and just go out there and stay composed on the mound and make some pitches.”

Lackey also pitched one scoreless inning of relief in the Red Sox’s win in Game 4. He is 2-1 in this postseason with a 3.26 ERA in four games, including three starts, and has a 5-5 lifetime record in the postseason with a 3.14 ERA in 18 games, including 15 starts.

In the regular season, Lackey went 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts.

“The margin for error is really slim this time of year,” Lackey said..

______

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday that Shane Victorino will return to right field tonight after a two-game absence from the lineup, Jonny Gomes will start in left over Daniel Nava and David Ross will remain behind the plate in place of Jarrod Saltamacchia.


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