ST. LOUIS -- The last time the Red Sox went on the road in a post-season series, they arrived with plenty of momentum in their carry-on baggage.
In the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox dropped the series opener 1-0 when Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen shut down the Sox at Fenway.
But when David Ortiz swatted a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2 and the Sox rallied for a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox took Game 2, 6-5, and with it, all the momentum in the series.
Instead of returning home for three games and a 2-0 lead in the series, the Tigers had to settle for a split in the first two games and returned to Comerica Park feeling as though they had let something get away.
Sure enough, the Red Sox parlayed that good feeling right into Game 3, winning their own 1-0 game as John Lackey outdueled Justin Verlander thanks to a solo homer from Mike Napoli.
Now, as the World Series shifts to St. Louis, it's as if the opposite were true.
After winning Game 1 handily, the Red Sox were the team letting a late-inning lead get away in Game 2, committing two errors to go with a suddenly suspect bullpen. What had been a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh quickly turned into a 4-2 loss, giving the visiting Cardinals a split in the series.
Instead of coming home trailing 2-0, the Cards have to be happy with a split on the road and the knowledge that the next three games will take place in Busch Stadium.
As for the Red Sox, can they seize the momentum again after seemingly fumbling it away in Game 2? And do the Cardinals now hold that same hard-to-define momentum thanks to their comeback victory Thursday?
''I think there's something to be said for that,'' aloowed John Farrell. "And yet when a game has gotten away from us, we've done such a great job of putting yesterday behind us and doing what it has taken to regain the momentum. Detroit might have had the most momentum at any one time in this postseason going into that eighth inning in Game 2-- you can say it has some momentum, but at the same time I think what propelled us in that series is John Lackey in Game 3.
"I think the momentum is probably hinged upon today's starting pitcher. That's not to heap too much pressure on the individual, but that's where it starts and that guy has got to keep the game under control.''
Mike Matheny, the Cardinals manager, meanwhile savored what Game 2 had meant to his team.
"I do believe,'' Matheny said, "it is a momentum sport.''
And now it's the Red Sox' turn to get it back.