October 24, 2004

Notes on Game 1. St. Louis 1st -- At 8:09, Wakefield throws a strike past Renteria and we are under way. Two minutes later, Renteria strikes out on a 1-2 knuckleball and the Fenway crowd goes nuts. Walker, finishing a 10-pitch at-bat, doubles into the right field corner, but Wakefield quickly gets both Pujols and Rolen on infield popups and the inning is over.

Boston 1st -- Damon also works a 10-pitch AB before slapping the ball into the left field corner for a double. Is he still sleeping on the couch? Cabrera gets plunked in the shoulder and Damon takes third on Ramirez's long fly to right. McCarver notes that Walker's catch along the right field line was excellent because "he was able to hold Cabrera at first." One problem: Cabrera wasn't tagging on the play.

On a 1-0 count, Ortiz hits an absolute bomb to deep right, over the foul pole down the line. Boston 3-0. Millar crushes Williams's next pitch high off the Monster for a double and after Nixon flies out to right, Mueller adds a single. So much for an ALCS letdown.

St. Louis 2nd -- The Cardinals come right back. Boston shifts the infield over towards first against Edmonds, so he drops a bunt down the third base line for an easy single. A walk and a bunt move him to third and he scores on a sac fly. Boston 4-1.

Boston 2nd -- McUseless's partner, Joe Buck, says something about hearing sound of the blimp on the telecast. He says it's that "droning-on sound" ... some jokes just write themselves. Bellhorn, the only Sock not to bat in the 1st inning, singles to the opposite field. Damon lines out to shortstop and Cabrera lines out to left. Two outs, but Williams isn't fooling anybody. Ramirez singles (which gets the Cardinal bullpen stirring) and Ortiz walks, but Millar leaves the bases loaded.

St. Louis 3rd -- Walker homers to right field with one out. Wakefield then hits Pujols, but gets Rolen to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Boston 4-3.

Boston 3rd -- With one out, Mueller walks, Mirabelli singles high off the Wall, Bellhorn walks and Damon singles (rbi). Williams leaves with the bases loaded; Haren comes in. Cabrera singles to left (rbi), Manny forces Cabrera at second (rbi) and Ortiz walks. Millar grounds out and although Boston leads 7-2, they have also left the bases loaded in two straight innings.

St. Louis 4th -- Wakefield's control vanishes. He throws 14 pitches to the first 3 batters (Edmonds, Sanders, Womack) and 12 of them are balls. Edmonds scores on a fly to right and Taguchi grounds out, but after another walk to Renteria, Wakefield is gone. Walker hits Arroyo's first pitch for an rbi-single. Boston 7-4.

Boston 4th -- Nixon (10 pitches) and Mueller (7 pitches) both walk to begin the inning, but not only doesn't Boston score, the runners can't advance at all.

St. Louis 6th -- With two outs, Taguchi hits a little dribbler down the third base line. Arroyo comes over and unwisely fires off-balance to first for an error. Taguchi scores when Renteria doubles to left center. Myers and Timlin get warm. Walker smacks another double into the right field corner for his 4th hit. Boston's 5-run lead is gone; the game is tied 7-7. After battling Wakefield for the first 9 pitches in the first inning, Walker has seen 5 pitches and has hit a: double, foul, home run, single and double. Jeez.

Boston 7th -- Calero is in and he starts off by walking Bellhorn. Damon -- not bunting -- shatters his bat on a grounder to second, which ends up moving Bellhorn up anyway. Cabrera walks on five pitches and Manny lines a single to left center. Edmonds gets the ball on the run and fires home, but his throw is up the first base line and Bellhorn scores easily (Boston 8-7). Cardinals catcher Matheny fires back to Renteria near second base because Manny has taken a wide turn around first. He scampers back, but there is no St. Louis player near the bag, so he's able to get back without incident.

McCarver immediately begins criticizing Ramirez for not hustling and getting to second base. The replay does show Manny pointing into the dugout after the hit (which is annoying), but there was no way he would have made it to second. With no one covering first, it looks to me like Manny played it right, taking a wide enough turn so that he could advance if it became possible, but not so far that he couldn't get back if he had to. McCarver, without the Yankees to drool over, apparently needs a Red Sox punching bag. LHP King comes in to face Ortiz, something we'll probably see a lot of in this series. Tizzle wins this round, smashing a vicious grounder towards Womack at second. The ball kicks up and strikes him near the collarbone and knocks him out of the game (x-rays were negative). Cabrera scores on the hit and Boston leads 9-7.

St. Louis 8th -- Timlin had set down the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the 7th. He retires Anderson (Womack's replacement) on a first pitch groundout before Matheny singles (also on the first pitch). Tito brings in Embree for Cedeno, which seems a bit premature to me. Timlin looks sharp and has thrown only 9 pitches to 5 batters; Embree could have been saved for Walker. ... Cedeno bloops a single to right and Francona goes right to Foulke for the game's final 5 outs.

Renteria singles through the shortstop hole into left. Game 4 starter Marquis is pinch-running for Matheny. Marquis slows rounding third, but scores when Ramirez has trouble picking up the ball (Boston 9-8). Walker hits a fly ball to shallow left. Manny runs in and tries a sliding catch, but his foot catches in the grass and he loses his balance. The ball hits off his glove for another error and Cedeno scores the tying run. McCarver, acting like a kid who got a new toy for Christmas, starts in on Ramirez again.

Ramirez said afterwards he shouldn't have tried to slide. Perhaps, but it looked like he could have made the play if he had slid cleanly. Foulke intentionally walks Pujols -- which loads the bases with only one out. It's 9-9. Rolen pops up the first
pitch to Mueller and Foulke (with a 1-1 count) absolutely shreds Edmonds with two perfect pitches on the inside corner to get him looking for the third out. Amazing, game-saving pitching by Foulke.

Boston 8th -- Tavarez in for the Cards. With one out, Varitek (who hit for Mirabelli back in the 6th) reaches when Renteria bobbles a ball hit to his right. Bellhorn takes a strike, hits a long foul to right, takes a ball, then hits another shot to deep right. This one stays fair, hitting off Pesky's Pole for a 2-run home run. He has homered in the last 3 playoff games, including two off the Pole. Boston 11-9.

St. Louis 9th -- Sanders strikes out on 3 pitches. Anderson hits a ground rule double to left. Molina fouls off two pitches before popping to Mientkiewicz at first. Cedeno then strikes out swinging (3 pitches also) to end the game.

P.S. -- Carl Yastrzemski threw out the first pitch, but Fox waits until the top of the 3rd inning -- after the game was an hour old -- to show us any footage of it. ... Before the game, it's reported that 4 box seats to tonight's game sold for $22,000 on ebay. ... In an interview segment, Wakefield says that bringing the World Series to Boston is "the coolest thing ever." ... With Ortiz batting in the 3rd inning, a deafening "Who's your Papi?" chant breaks out. ... Game 1 winners have won 13 of the last 16 World Series.

Schilling/Morris at 8:00 pm.

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