ST. LOUIS -- Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy entered Game 3 of the World Series with ugly postseason numbers. His four innings against the Cardinals on Saturday night at Busch Stadium, in Boston's eventual 5-4 loss, weren't pretty, but they weren't all that damaging.
Peavy gave up two first-inning runs on four hits. He saw the Cards load the bases in the fourth on two hits with a walk in between, but he pitched out of the jam with no further damage and was replaced with a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth.
The escapes were positives, but Peavy's performance -- two runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and a walk in four innings -- wasn't what the Red Sox desired in a World Series start, and it left the club with some intriguing strategic choices as the Series progresses.
Peavy's replacement in Game 3, lefty Felix Doubront, started 27 of his 29 regular-season appearances but has been relegated to the bullpen in the postseason. On Saturday night, he held the Cards to a hit and a walk in two scoreless innings. The Sox could rest Peavy for a possible Game 7, but given that he threw just 64 pitches, he could be back out of the bullpen. And what of Doubront, who was sharp even though he's just appeared three times in the postseason?
Peavy said he'll worry about Game 7 if it comes, but will be available between now and then.
"That's the furthest thing from my mind right now," he said. "If there is, I'll be ready in any capacity over the next few games. Only throwing four innings tonight, I can be ready for any game I need to be. I hope we find a way to win the next three and there's not a Game 7. But if there is, I'll be ready."
Peavy's night got off to a rough start, but not because the Cardinals were hitting him that hard or that he was missing with his pitches.
Matt Carpenter led off the bottom of the first with a single. Carlos Beltran gave Peavy an out when he bunted to the mound while trying to take advantage of a shift to the right side. Then Matt Holliday singled to right to score Carpenter on a pitch that would have been a ball outside. Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was at double-play depth and couldn't shift toward first against Matt Adams, who grounded right where Pedroia would have been had there not been a runner at first. Yadier Molina hit an RBI single past diving third baseman Xander Bogaerts for a 2-0 lead.
"It just wasn't hit at anybody," Peavy said. "You need some balls to be hit at your defenders, and first inning the ball was just bouncing their way. But we battled, did the best we could and gave our team a chance."
In the fourth, Molina singled, David Freese walked and Jon Jay singled up the middle, but Peavy struck out Pete Kozma looking and forced weak infield popups from pitcher Joe Kelly and Carpenter.
"You know one or two runs were going to mean this ballgame, and obviously giving up two in the first there was no room for error," Peavy said.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, "That first inning, those weren't bad pitches. I don't want to say they were sitting on it, but they guessed right. But we weren't out of the game."
During the season, Doubront was 11-6 with a 3.87 ERA as a starter but yielded 11 runs and 16 hits in 6 2/3 innings in two relief appearances. Farrell told him he had to develop a mindset that was conducive to relief pitching. Game 3 was his third scoreless postseason outing, and it was his first time pitching in 10 days.
"For him to come in like that and pitch as well as he did, you can't be anything but happy for him," Saltalamacchia said.