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Cards' spirited rally falls short10/23/2004 10:51 PM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Are you ready for some football ... scores?
The Cardinals ran into the American League version of themselves in Game 1 of the World Series, rallying from 7-2 and 9-7 deficits before losing, 11-9, to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday night. The National League's most potent offense did plenty of damage, but the AL's No. 1 run-scoring team matched it and more.
It could be a sign of things to come in a World Series that features two powerful lineups and two pitching staffs dealing with significant injuries.
Mark Bellhorn's two-run homer off the right-field foul pole against Julian Tavarez broke an eighth-inning tie and gave Boston the win in front of 35,035 chilly fans. Edgar Renteria's error put Jason Varitek on base in front of Bellhorn, and the second baseman converted on the opportunity.
"The ball was right in the middle of the plate," said Tavarez, who took the loss in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series on a Carlos Beltran homer. "It was not the location that I wanted. I wanted to throw down to his feet. It was a home run. It was a big mistake. It was not a location that I wanted with the pitch."
Tavarez has been in the center of nearly every recent game for the Cards -- he took the loss for his fourth decision in St. Louis' last seven games. The Redbirds had scored two runs in the top of the eighth to tie a game they never led.
Larry Walker smacked four hits, three of them for extra bases, and drove in two runs, while Mike Matheny added two RBIs and Jim Edmonds scored twice. St. Louis also benefited from four Red Sox errors -- defense being one area in which the two teams are decidedly different.
Neither starter, St. Louis' Woody Williams nor Boston's Tim Wakefield, made it into the fifth inning in a game that lasted exactly four hours. Cardinals pitchers issued eight walks against a patient Red Sox lineup, and the teams combined for nine extra-base hits among their 24 knocks.
"They are a good lineup," Williams said. "They know what they want to do, and they don't go out of the strike zone very often. When you're falling behind and not hitting with your breaking ball, you're in trouble.
Manny Ramirez's single scored Bellhorn, who had walked, to break a 7-7 tie in the seventh inning against Kiko Calero. David Ortiz followed with a single off Tony Womack's chest for an insurance run.
Womack was removed from the game and taken to a Boston hospital for precautionary X-rays on his collarbone. The second baseman was already dealing with back spasms that forced him out of Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.
"I did the best I could trying to keep it from hitting me in the teeth," Womack quipped.
Williams had a terrible time getting his pitches down, and his World Series debut was a brief one because of it. Ortiz did to Williams what he's done to a slew of pitchers already this postseason, blasting a three-run homer into the stands in right field for an early Boston lead.
"I was just falling behind," Williams said. "I didn't control the counts. I was ball one a lot, or 2-1 a lot. And your margin for error when you're behind in the count is a lot less."
The veteran right-hander loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but eluded danger. In the third, he filled them up again and paid for it. Johnny Damon's RBI single chased Williams after seven outs. Danny Haren allowed two of three inherited runners to score as the Red Sox assembled a three-run third.
That was the end of the scoring with Haren on the mound, however. He made it through the sixth without permitting another run, despite walking the first two batters of the fourth. The second-year right-hander retired nine of his last 10 batters.
The base on balls remained a theme for St. Louis, though. Calero walked Bellhorn and Cabrera to put a man in scoring position for Ramirez, who did what Manny Ramirez tends to do.
"All through the year I was throwing strikes, but today I was wild," said Calero. "I was behind in the count with every hitter. You can't pitch like that. Especially against that team."
Soon after, Ramirez then did the other thing he tends to do -- make defensive gaffes. His bobble on a Renteria single in the eighth inning allowed pinch-runner Jason Marquis to score, and his out-and-out drop of Walker's fly ball brought home the tying run.
The Red Sox intentionally walked Albert Pujols, loading the bases for Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, but the two sluggers were unable to bring anyone home. Rolen popped up and Edmonds was called out on strikes, though he disputed the call.
"We had some opportunities," Rolen said. "I had some opportunities. I didn't swing at strikes when I had the opportunity to drive somebody in."
Edmonds, on the other hand, didn't swing at a pitch that he thought was a ball, but was called a strike.
"Did you see that pitch? If you did, you'd know it was a ball," he said. "Look at the monitor. It was a ball. That's the way it goes sometimes, human error. You keep going forward."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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