Red Sox are dodging bullets

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

When a team makes four errors in a game it is supposed to lose.

When a team makes four errors in a game for the second night, it is supposed to lose again.

Not the Boston Red Sox.

Not when the St. Louis Cardinals pitchers think the strike zone is one of those old car tires hung from the oak in the backyard and someone keeps pushing it, making it a mobile target.

TRUMPED

The Cards watched the Sox make eight clanks -- all clankity-clank clanks, the kind that have managers kicking their cleats against a dugout step --and trumped it with their wildness.

St. Louis hurlers walked 14 and hit three in 16 innings to fall behind 2-0 in the 100th World Series, a best-of-seven affair.

And, as affairs goes, this one looks like love on the rocks with Pedro Martinez facing Jeff Suppan tomorrow night in St. Louis.

Eight Sox who didn't hit their way on base scored.

Walking the park is a greater sin than not being able to field.

"We made some mistakes," Sox centre fielder Johnny Damon said. "And you know what? Big deal. No one will even remember all those errors in a couple of days."

Was J.P. Ricciardi right?

You can win with nine stakes in the ground. You can win on defence, as the Jays general manager often says.

Defence does not matter.

"We're playing good baseball," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "Like Terry Francona said 'we're not making an instructional video.' Other than our mistakes I thought we played good ball."

That means other than the Cardinal walk-athon, they played well?

Not when righty Matt Morris walked Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz in first and gave up a two-run triple to Jason Varitek.

"Matt gets the first two and then walks the next two," said Woody Williams. "That's not the way he pitches. As bad as I pitched in Game 1, we had a chance. We were tied in the eighth."

But Mark Bellhorn homered off the foul pole in Game 1, and he doubled over the head of Jim Edmonds last night.

"I don't want to say Matt was nibbling, but he was trying to make the perfect pitch," St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan said, coming up with another phrase for nibbling.

"When we look back, they are not hitting pitches we know that they can't hit. We're making mistakes with our location," Duncan said. "When you walk that many and you pitch behind in the count, you have to put the ball over the middle of the plate. That's not a healthy position to be in ."

While not on life-support -- down 3-0 is no big deal, remember how the New York Yankees were three outs away from sweeping the Sox? -- the Cards are not in good shape.

"I got ahead of Ramirez and Ortiz and tried to get them to go fishing," Morris said. "The pitch to Varitek was a change, Duncan told us he was a pretty good change up hitter. I can see that now."

The Cardinals' trip to Boston fits somewhere on the charts behind "other that that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

"Games in American League parks take too long to play," said Cards reliever Ray King. "They have a guy come to the mound to make change, make it, don't wave your arm, don't stand around. If you want to be on TV, become an actor.

"We don't do all that stepping in and out of the box, asking for time, in our league. You're here to play. This is baseball, not a fashion show."

PATIENCE

So now it's on to St. Louis.

"We'll see how patient at the plate they are in St. Louis," Duncan said. "That's not the best lineup we've seen. We just got done with the Houston Astros and we played the Chicago Cubs 18 times."

And the Cards are only assured of two more games with the Red Sox unless they start throwing strikes.


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