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Red Sox short hops
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10/27/2004 1:47 AM ET
Red Sox short hops
Boston is a win away from ending its 86-year drought
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ST. LOUIS -- Paul Revere rode his horse through Boston to warn of an impending British attack. Bill Russell led the Celtics to 11 NBA titles, Larry Bird to three more. Bobby Orr broke a long dry spell and spurred the Bruins to win a pair of Stanley Cups. The New England Patriots have won two Super Bowls and are currently in the midst of a 21-game winning streak.


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But all that will pale in comparison if the Red Sox can close out the Cardinals and their first World Series victory in 86 years on Wednesday night in Game 4 at Busch Stadium.

To put it all into perspective, the last time the Red Sox won the World Series, World War I was about to end. The stock market collapse and the Great Depression were still a decade away. Woodrow Wilson was still president. The Black Sox scandal hadn't happened yet.

And the Red Sox won by defeating the Chicago Cubs, who had won the World Series for the last time only 10 years earlier.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the World Series.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 3.33 Great starts by Curt Schilling, Pedro ... Derek Lowe up next
BA .291 Have outscored the opposition 31-14 in the last four games, all wins
Runs 21 That's 31 runs in their last four postseason games
Errors 8 Porous defense in first two games disappears as Many Ramirez and David Ortiz throw out baserunners

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Manny Ramirez .462 (6-for-13, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 R) Homers and then even throws out a runner at home plate. Amazin'
Pedro Martinez 1-0, 0.00 ERA Comes up big in biggest game of his career in possible last outing for Sox

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Bill Buckner Retired Only that ghost of 1986 standing between Sox and first World Series title since 1918

Behind the numbers
Manny's first-inning homer was the third time in last four games the Sox have gone long distance in the opening frame. Boston has scored in the first innings of each of its last four games. In each of its last six postseason games, all victories, Boston has scored first.

Frozen moments
Larry Walker, trying to tag up from third on a medium fly to left, is thrown out at the plate by Ramirez to end the first inning. Two innings later, Jeff Suppan freezes just off third on a grounder to second baseman Mark Bellhorn, who is playing at normal depth. Suppan hesitates and is thrown out on the back end of a double play by first baseman Ortiz, killing a Cardinals' rally.

Slick move
Got to hand it to Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Tito opts to keep Ortiz in the lineup and bench incumbent first baseman Kevin Millar because there's no DH in the NL park. Ortiz gets a single and makes big defensive play.

Here we go again
No team in Major League history had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series until the Red Sox did it to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. No team has ever done it in the World Series.

Last word
"I think we got here the way we did because of the way we approached it. I won't have any trouble (thinking about how close they are to winning the championship). We know who we're playing, where we're playing, how good they are. Tomorrow will be the most important game of the year for us, just like today was. And I think that's our best way to approach it. It just makes sense to do it that way. It won't be hard for me at all." -- Francona

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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