Turn the page.
That was the phrase Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia repeated when asked about the defensive miscues in the seventh inning that doomed the home team.
Clearly, he had adopted the three words as a new mantra. He didn’t want to dwell on what could have been in Game 2 on Thursday night, on opportunities squandered with errors behind the plate. He didn’t want to dwell on the Red Sox’ World Series-tying 4-2 loss.
“[The Cardinals] are a good team,” said Saltalamacchia, who went 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts. “You can’t take them lightly. It’s not like we were going to go ahead and win four and sweep them. They’re going to put up a fight. They’re not going to lay down.
“We’re in a split situation, like we were at in the ALCS, we were 1-1 going into their place. We’ve been there before. We’re not worried. We’re going to turn the page.”
But before he could completely move on, Saltalamacchia needed to explain what happened in the seventh.There had been a complete reversal of fortunes for the two teams. In Game 1, the Cardinals had been the shaky defensive team, with dropped balls and errant throws. In Game 2, that was the dominant theme for the Red Sox. And, in quick succession, Saltalamacchia was directly involved in two of the most glaring defensive mistakes.
With one out and David Descalso at the plate, Pete Kozma and Jon Jay completed a double steal without even a throw from Saltalamacchia. The Red Sox catcher struggled with the ball transfer and missed his chance to throw out a runner.
“It just popped out of my glove,” said Saltalamacchia. “It was one of those where he didn’t have a good jump, so I might have got big-eyed and tried to get too big too quick. You just try to turn the page and go for the next one . . . It was a great pitch to throw on, a great spot. Obviously, he didn’t have a good jump, so he would have been out if I could have transferred the ball and made the throw.”
Descalso walked to load the bases and Matt Carpenter hit a fly ball to left that Jonny Gomes fielded. Gomes threw home, but the ball sailed a couple of feet wide of the plate on the first-base side. Saltalamacchia stretched to his right to field the throw, but it slipped behind him. Kozma slid safely into home.
Craig Breslow backed up the play at the plate, but his throw to third sailed well over shortstop Stephen Drew’s head and another St. Louis run scored.
“It was a shallow fly ball that Jonny got to,” said Saltalamacchia. “The throw took me a little bit to the right. I tried to lean for it. It’s one of those plays where it’s kind of do or die. I wish we probably could have held onto the ball. But at the time, we’re trying to get the out. We’re trying to play a hard game.”
Reviewing the play again in his mind, he added: “[The throw from Gomes] tailed away a little bit. There’s a lot of things that could have happened. I could have let him score and got the ball. I could’ve gotten around the ball and tried to catch it and dive. There’s a lot of things that you can look back on now and try to change. But what’s happened happened.”
Saltalamacchia and the Red Sox needed to look no further than the Cardinals for a model of just how to move on.
St. Louis showed how quickly mistakes can be erased and forgotten in the World Series. The Cardinals moved on quickly from their Game 1 debacle, the one that put visions of a sweep into the minds of Red Sox fans.
But the players knew better.
“We’re human,” said Saltalamacchia. “It happens. We saw them do the same thing last night.
“They shook it off, came out [Thursday] and played well. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Shira Springer can be reached at email@example.com.