World Series Game 3
October 26, 2004 Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Red Sox 4, Cardinals 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0
For Game 3, the teams moved to St. Louis, where it was 65 degrees at game time, much warmer than it had been in Boston. It had rained all day, and the field - especially the outfield - was still very wet. Pedro Martinez faced off against Jeff Suppan, who had pitched for the Red Sox early in his career and again at the end of last season. Johnny Damon and Orlando Cabrera both hit fly balls in the first, and Jim Edmonds made a nice catch as he chased down Cabrera's. But no one could track down Manny Ramirez's shot to left-center field, a solo homer that put the Sox on the board in the first inning for the fourth straight game. Manny had at least one hit in all of the Red Sox' postseason games this year, and in 16 straight going back to last year. David Ortiz singled before Jason Varitek grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Edgar Renteria grounded out, but then Larry Walker walked, Albert Pujols reached on an infield hit, and Scott Rolen walked, loading the bases. Then Edmonds hit a fly to shallow left field. Walker tagged up at third, but Manny made a great throw home and Tek applied a flawless tag to catch Walker and end the inning. After making four errors in each of the first two World Series games, the question was how the Red Sox defense would hold up, especially in a National League city where there's no DH and Ortiz would have to play first. In the third, more heads-up defense put that question to rest. Suppan beat out an infield hit to start the inning. Renteria doubled to right, where Trot Nixon slipped and splashed into a huge puddle on the warning track. That could have been really damaging after he spent most of the season out with back and quad injuries, but he was OK. When Walker came to the plate, the Sox infield backed up, willing to concede a run if he hit a ground ball. He did indeed hit a grounder to second, where Mark Bellhorn flipped to Ortiz for the first out. But Suppan inexplicably stopped after taking a few steps home, tried to return to third, then realized the third base coach had been waving him home and took off again. Ortiz alertly threw to third, where Bill Mueller applied the tag to catch Suppan in his baserunning blunder. Pujols grounded out to end the inning with the Sox still up 1-0.
With two outs in the fourth, Mueller doubled to left field. Nixon followed with a base hit into the same area in right where he had slipped and fallen in the previous inning. Mueller came around to score, and the Sox were up 2-0. In the fifth, the Sox hitters were back at it again. Damon led the inning off with a double, and Cabrera's single moved him to third. Manny sent a hit into left, scoring Johnny and moving Cabrera up a base. A fly ball and a fielder's choice put runners at first and third with two outs, and Mueller lined a hit into right field while Cabrera scored the Sox' fourth run.
After the play that nailed Suppan in the third inning, Pedro did not allow another baserunner, as he pitched through the seventh. (He even walked in his plate appearance in the sixth.) For the Cardinals, Al Reyes, Kiko Calero, and Ray King combined to quiet the Sox' bats. When Pedro's spot in the batting order came up in the eighth, Kevin Millar pinch hit for him. Pedro's first career World Series start, and potentially his last game as a member of the Red Sox, ended with a line that read seven innings pitched, no runs, and only three hits. Mike Timlin pitched the eighth, inducing three straight groundouts. Keith Foulke came in for the ninth, even though it wasn't a save situation. He had pitched a total of twelve innings in the twelve postseason games the Red Sox had played so far, and had not given up a single run. He struck out Renteria, but then Walker launched a shot to left-center. The solo homer was the first run surrendered by Foulke in the entire postseason, and made the score 4-1 Red Sox. But that was as close as the Cardinals would get. Pujols flied out to left, and Foulke struck out Rolen to end the game. The Sox led the World Series three games to none, and no team had ever come back from that big a deficit... at least not in the past week. They were now one win away from accomplishing what everyone had dreamed of for the past 86 years, but we also knew that they had been this close before, and that the final win is always the hardest. It was hard to go to sleep that night, in anticipation of all that the next day would offer.
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