Groundskeeper's apology catches La Russa off guard

Suppan to start Game 3 for Cards

three errors by Mueller ties record


World Series

October 25, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Tony La Russa has witnessed plenty in all his years in baseball, but until Game 1 of this World Series, he had never had another team's groundskeeper apologize to him about a bad hop.

La Russa said that happened Saturday, after St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tony Womack took a nasty hop off his left collarbone in the seventh inning at Fenway Park.

Womack had to leave the game, but X-rays showed no broken bones, and he was back in the lineup last night. Nonetheless, Boston Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor apologized to La Russa, who said, "I had never had that happen."

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit the smash toward Womack with runners at first and third, right after the Red Sox had grabbed an 8-7 lead. Boston went on to win, 11-9, thanks to Mark Bellhorn's two-run homer off the right-field foul pole in the eighth.

"We had a chance to get a double play or throw the guy out at the plate, but the ball was hit very hard and ate [Womack] up," La Russa said. "A double play would have been a nice momentum thing for us."

Womack described the pain like football players describe a stinger. It was enough to make his left fingers feel numb.

"I felt like I had been hit by a truck twice," Womack said yesterday morning. "I was really stiff. But I'm playing. I've got all of next week to rest. After it's all said and done, I've got all winter to heal."

Womack won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, getting the tying hit against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 7. He bounced around last season, and actually started this year in Boston's camp.

Cardinals set rotation

St. Louis is planning to use Jeff Suppan in Game 3, and Jason Marquis in Game 4, even though Marquis pitched one inning in relief last night. La Russa said before the game that he was confident Marquis could do a short relief stint last night, if needed, and still return to start Wednesday.

Suppan is the team's hottest pitcher, and he's lined up to pitch a potential Game 7, if the series goes that long.

The Red Sox will counter with Pedro Martinez in Game 3, and Derek Lowe in Game 4.

Sloppy victories

Somehow, the Red Sox have won twice despite a pair of four-error performances - the most ever in the opening two games of the Series, including a Series record-tying three by third baseman Bill Mueller in Game 2.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' Davey Lopes was the last player to make three errors in a Series game, in 1981. Pepper Martin was the only previous third baseman to do it, in 1934 for St. Louis.

Ratings bonanza

Boston's win over the Cardinals on Saturday night got the highest TV rating for the first game of the World Series since 1999.

Fox Sports' prime-time coverage of the game got a 13.7 fast national rating, up 26 percent from Game 1 between the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees last year.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.

Around the horn

Ortiz had four RBIs in Game 1, giving him 19 for the postseason, matching the all-time record. Sandy Alomar Jr. had 19 with the Cleveland Indians in 1997, and Scott Spiezio had 19 with the Anaheim Angels in 2002. ... Red Sox starter Curt Schilling joined Jack Morris, Danny Jackson and Joe Bush as the only pitchers to start in the Series for three different teams. ... Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora finished second to Minnesota Twins pitcher Johan Santana in the voting for the first annual Luis Aparicio Award, given to the top Venezuelan player in Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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